• Lake Como
  • Castelrotto in the Dolomites
  • Venice
  • Birth of Venus in Florence's Uffizi Museum
  • Vernazza in the Cinque Terre
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Duomo in Siena
  • Assisi
  • Wine Tasting near Orvieto
  • Colosseum in Rome

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour

Rick Steves Best of Italy tour is exactly that — the very best. Starting on beautiful Lake Como, this tour treats you to Italy's must-see destinations: timeless Venice, Renaissance Florence, Eternal Rome and St. Francis' Assisi. You'll also soak in Italy's quieter side: hill town vineyards, mountain-ringed Alpine meadows, cliff-clinging Cinque Terre villages, and cozy fishing harbors — all accompanied by memorable meals and local wines. And Rick's guides will make Italy's art, history and dolce vita come vividly to life. Join us for the Best of Italy in 17 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Italy come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 23 group sightseeing events • Lake Como ferry pass • Verona walking tour • South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Ötzi the Iceman) • Venice walking tour • Renaissance Florence walking tour • Uffizi Gallery tour • Florence's Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo's David) • Pisa visit • Pesto demonstration • Orientation for "vacation" day on Italian Riviera • Hill town visit • Siena walking tour and Duomo • Siena contrada visit and dinner • Artisan workshop visit • Assisi walking tour • Umbrian wine tasting • Orvieto orientation and San Brizio Chapel tour • Evening walk through Rome • Ancient Rome walking tour • Colosseum tour • Roman Forum tour • Pantheon • St. Peter's Basilica tour • Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel...and more
  • All group transportation from Varenna to Rome
  • 16 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves Italy guidebook, Italy Sightseeing Supplement, Italian phrase book, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2015
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Italy

The sleepy Lake Como village of Varenna is a quick, easy train connection from Milan. Around 5 p.m. you'll meet your guide and fellow tour members at our hotel for a get-acquainted session. We'll then take a village orientation walk, pointing out places for dinner on your own tonight. Sleep in Varenna (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Cruising Lake Como

Equipped with your included Lake Como ferry boat pass, you'll have the entire day and evening free to explore the villages and waterways of romantic Lake Como, including the elegant town of Bellagio. Or hike up into the Alpine foothills for unforgettable vistas. At breakfast, your guide can help you plan your day. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 3: Verona and the Dolomites

We'll drive to Verona this morning for a walking tour of the town's medieval center, including the bustling Piazza Erbe market square and the ornate Scaligeri tombs. You'll then have free time to grab some lunch, see “Juliet’s balcony,” and marvel at the Roman Arena — today a popular opera venue. Then we'll drive high up into Italy's Dolomite Alps, where the locals speak German first, Italian second. We'll have a hearty Tirolean dinner together at our Alpine hotel. Sleep peacefully in the Alpi di Siusi area (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Hiking the Dolomites

From your totally-yodely home base, you'll have all day to explore the dramatic Dolomites, Italy's hiking and skiing mecca. Choose from an array of challenging hikes, or join your guide (weather permitting) — and the free-roaming cows — for a peaceful walk through Europe's largest Alpine meadow. Maybe you'll even watch colorful paragliders float on the wind as you relax outside a mountain hut café. We'll regroup tonight for dinner at our cozy hotel. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 5: The Iceman and Venice

We'll head downhill from the Dolomites with a stop in Bolzano to visit its most famous resident: the 5,300-year-old, naturally-preserved remains of Ötzi the Iceman, along with a museum exhibit on prehistoric European life. After some free time for lunch, we'll set a course for Venice, where we'll board a vaporetto boat for a Grand Canal ride to our hotel in Venice's historic heart. Tonight we'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll before setting you loose for dinner on your own. Sleep in Venice (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 6: Exploring Venice

Our local guide will join us this morning for a historical walking tour, with a modern Venetian's-eye view, through the backstreets of Venice. Along the way, we'll learn about the city's remarkable past and its challenging future. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore the imposing Doge's Palace, maybe take in a church concert, waltz on St. Mark's Square, or pub-crawl your way through this unique city. Later tonight, your guide will help organize an optional romantic gondola ride for those who are interested. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Florence and David

We'll drive straight to Florence this morning, and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Sleep in Florence (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Renaissance Florence

This morning we'll devote our time to the breathtaking Renaissance art of the Uffizi — home to the finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — including works by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo and more. The rest of the day is yours to stroll across the delightfully medieval Ponte Vecchio, visit more of the city's art-filled churches and museums, browse the colorful markets, and find a special trattoria for dinner on your own. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Pisa and Cinque Terre Villages

Winding our way towards the coast, we’ll first stop to gaze at Pisa's leaning tower and Romanesque baptistery. Today's final destination is Italy's enchanting Cinque Terre fishing villages, laced together with hiking paths that meander between vineyards and the deep blue sea. Upon arrival, your guide will give you an introduction to the town, leaving you with plenty of free time this afternoon to explore on your own. We'll regroup tonight for an entertaining pesto-making lesson and special pesto lasagna dinner at a local family restaurant. Sleep in Monterosso (2 nights, may be split between 2 hotels). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 10: Exploring the Cinque Terre

You'll take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. Hike along the trails, taking in lots of fresh air and panoramic views between Cinque Terre villages. Or pick a village where you can spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 11: Tuscany and Siena

Today we'll venture into the heart of magical Tuscany, stopping on the way to poke around the quiet lanes of a friendly hill town. Saving the best for last, we'll take an orientation tour of our home for the next two nights — remarkable Siena — a "living museum" brimming with some of Italy's finest Gothic architecture and perhaps its best public square, Il Campo. Tonight we'll visit and enjoy dinner at one of the town's proud contrade — 17 neighborhoods that compete for glory in the famous Palio horse races. Sleep in Siena (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Savoring Siena

This morning we'll take a meandering walking tour through this one-of-a-kind hill town. We'll tour the elaborate cathedral and learn how Siena's rich medieval history and rivalry with Florence shaped this city. Then you'll be well oriented for your free afternoon and evening to enjoy Siena, from its dramatic city hall tower to its well-respected enoteca (wine bar/museum). No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 13: Assisi and Wine Tasting

Let's make a modern-day pilgrimage to the hill town of Assisi where, in a time of unprecedented church wealth, St. Francis inspired a refocused spirituality through poverty, humility, and the beauty of nature in Umbria. As we learn about the life of the saint, we'll take a walking tour of the town and its beautifully-frescoed Basilica of St. Francis. Then we'll wind our way across Umbria to our agriturismo destination: a country hotel that is also a working family winery. We'll end our day amid the peaceful vines and olive groves, tasting several of our host's award-winning wines, and sharing a country-style dinner together. Sleep near Orvieto (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 14: Hill Town Italy

This morning we'll visit Umbria's grand hill town of Orvieto. We'll get oriented to sights around the cathedral square, including Signorelli's amazing frescoes in the Chapel of San Brizio and Italy's liveliest cathedral facade. Then you'll be free to wander through the medieval old town and its shops filled with colorful pottery. This afternoon we'll return to our agriturismo, with plenty of time for a countryside walk before dinner together. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Day 15: Ancient and Dolce Vita Rome

Today we'll drive straight to the Eternal City of Rome. We'll get oriented to the city's transportation system, then spend our afternoon on a walking tour through the ancient heart of Rome as a local guide tells us vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum, the awe-inspiring Pantheon, and the birthplace of Ancient Rome: the Forum. Tonight we'll take a floodlit, fountain-splashing, la dolce vita stroll through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambiance at the lively campos and classy piazzas. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 16: St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum

Today we'll focus on Renaissance Rome. We’ll meet our local guide on the other side of the Tiber river and introduce you to the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Then we’ll take you to the sprawling Vatican Museum, where you’ll see an endless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Your afternoon is free to explore more on your own. Don’t forget to taste some delicious gelato along the way! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 17: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. It's a breeze to reach Rome's airports by taxi or train. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Italy in 17 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Sally

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have wonderful memories of my tour. The guide and driver were excellent. The group was great and enjoyable. Glad we had an opportunity to do laundry since we took all carry on luggage. I was not crazy about hauling my luggage 4 blocks and up 72 stairs. On my Trafalgar trip, they delivered our luggage to our door. But that is not enough to make me not go on another Steves tour. I liked that fact that our bus was only half full and we could spread out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Lake Como"

Ken

Lawrenceville, GA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour introduced me to Italy. The most amazing aspect to me was the beautiful landscapes and they just kept coming. From the peaceful Lake Como to the dynamic Dolomites to the wonderful Cinque Terre to the quilt-like patchwork of Tuscany and Umbria. Next came the churches and the amazing art. Then there was the fresh delicious wine and the great food. I haven't even mentioned the our wonderful guide, Robin, who was able to bring 27 people together as if we were a family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one "wow" moment, but I think I have to say that mine was being able to look out over Lake Como after a long flight and train ride. That peaceful feeling allowed me to exhale and know that we were going to have a wonderful trip."

Kay

East Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first RS's tour, first real group tour, first time to Italy. We covered so much area, a real nice sampling of the northern half of Italy, in a relatively short time period, but never felt pushed or rushed (OK, going to the bustle of Rome from the laid back, quiet atmosphere of Altarocca was a challenge, especially when we were all getting a bit tired, but we survived). Wish I could retain all that I learned!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pieta in Orvieta, sculpted by an unknown artist---so much more expressive than Michelangelo's in St. Peter's. Brought home to me the depth of devotion to art during this era, the drive to expressing through art the beauty (and pathos) of humanity and the world)."

Geri

Garden City, ID

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wanted to visit Italy again!! None of my friends were willing to make the time and money commitment so I thought I'd just go it alone. Well, after a little research I realized I didn't want to spend 3 weeks in Italy by myself so I looked at Rick Steves tours of Italy. I am SO glad I did. Each day I awoke with the anticipation of a new adventure with a lovely group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's hard to pin down. I think my most wow moment was Assisi. Very interesting tour of the town by a Rick Steves guide. Cinque Terre was a feast for the eyes. Everywhere I looked was like a life-size painting. Varenna and Bellagio were stunning. While on the bus our Tour Guide, Robin, would tell us about the history of the next town, which made it even more exciting to arrive at our next destination."

Wendy

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third and most outstanding Rick Steves Tour. Mary called us "The Enchanted Group" as we had almost perfect weather throughout the tour. I also felt we were enchanted because we ALL seemed to "click". The single tour members blended perfectly with the couples and each member looked out for the other. I have to say that Mary was the perfect guide. She has the unique quality of maintaining crowd control while maintaining a personal relationship with each tour member.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were SO many, but I have to say that the serenaded gondola ride in Venice was, in Mary's words, simply magical and not to be missed. She was so right........it indescribable."

Mark

Foxfield, CO

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was wonderful; Well organized, full of great guides and spectacular sights and best of all some great surprises as far as special tours and dinners. The schedule was aggressive but still allowed for a good amount of personal time to go on our own. Will do it again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Italian scenery in the selected sights was well beyond my expectations. I thought they started with the highlight when we were in Lake Como but it just got better. The people on the tour were an unexpected delight. The "team" dinner we had in the community center in Sienna with the film of the race was a wonderful surprise."

Laverne

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had a lovely variety of places....from the country side to the downtown experience of the large cities. Tho, the churches were indeed lovely and interesting, for me the churches became all alike.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment, was a toss up between, Vereena and chique terres."

Suzanne

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The group was extraordinarily compatible, the accommodations with one minor exception were quite luxurious and the mix of large cities /small gems perfect. Mary, our fearless and unflappable leader, had many surprise treats in store. Her knowledge of the culture and art and her kindness huge. This is is my second RS tour, not my last by any means.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wows. the Dolomites, which I never would have visited by myself, the palpable spirituality of Assisi, and the beauty of our Umbrian agriturismo. And then, there was Sienna."

John

Langley, BC

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The group size was just right you are able to stay together with your guide. We saw some that were way larger and I do not know how you could get the experience from your guie that way. Also it would be tough to get to know everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is very tough to answer as I thought every where we went was awesome others have asked me the same thing. I had never been to Italy before but the sights just blew me away."

Evan

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well designed and lead by Mary. I am very pleased.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was particularly interested in the Roman antiquities and was not disappointed in what I saw and experienced."

Gary

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour Guide Mary was superior in her organization, daily planning, communication of days events, providing insightful information on sites to be visited and overall delivered a daily experience for every site we visited. The schedule balanced well, planned events along with free time so we could explore other sites not in the original plan. The professional guides provided in Venice, Florence, Sienna and Rome were exceptional with their historical knowlege of the sites and works viewed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The historical overview provided by our guide during the tour of the Coliseum, Forum and Pantheon in Rome and that provided by our guide when visiting the Vatican Museum and St Peters Basilica in Rome. Made the historical sites we visited come to life. Great presentations and perspectives. Michelangelo's Pieta in St Peters Basilica and David in Acadia in Florence definitely provided the WOW factor for me."

Mindy

Foxfield, CO

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour far exceeded our expectations. Not only did we see the "Best of Italy" sights and sounds but we saw the people, experienced the culture and became part of the communities (if only for a short time). The local tour guides and small family owned hotels and restaurants allowed us to feel like we could look at life through their eyes during our stay. It really helped to not feel like one of the "tourists"!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many memories come flooding back and we have been unable to answer this question when asked by friends. There were way too many moments as each spot we would say "this is the best" and then it would be topped by the next sight. I do think the "extra things" recommended by Mary were wonderful and things we would not have done on our own - such as the gondola ride in Venice, after the tourists had gone home, with the music added to a magical night."

Laura

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Mary, was awesome. She brought Italy alive for us. Every city we stopped in was our favorite! The tour was so organized. The Italian guides were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Even though they do this daily we felt they were just there for us. Mary kept checking in with everyone to make sure all of our needs were being met. I'm sure at times she felt she was herding cats. The group was friendly, positive, and so much fun. Thanks for putting this tour together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We are still in awe of the Dolomites. Hiking was inspiring in the alpine meadow. All the views were amazing. The Seelhaus owners and staff were so welcoming and the food beautifully presented and delicious. Actually there were many WOW moments."

Elvira

Salt Spring Island, BC

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole tour was truly outstanding! Our guides were very informative and I always felt safe, confident and at ease, which allowed me to freely connect with the sights, sounds and culture of each place.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Dolomites... Also, I loved Cinque Terre and the overall ocean / landscapes..."

Judy

Eaton Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all wonderful! The hotels and their locations, the food and the stellar local guides all impressed me. Our guide, Donald, was absolutely wonderful: knowledgeable, funny, informative, wow! We never felt rushed at any given site but we were left wanting to go back to some of the same places on our own so we can experience more of that area. I loved the guided tours! I thought I knew a lot about these areas due to my many history and art classes but I learned so much. Just totally amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the feel and look of Venice early in the morning before the streets were crowded with tourists. It was almost like living there. I had that same feeling in Cinque Terre and Orvieto. Such relaxing times in the midst of busy travel! I also loved seeing wonderful places that I had been in the past with my husband, who had never been to Italy, knowing that the trip was much less stressful because he didn't have to drive. He, too, could enjoy looking out the windows at the beautiful scenery."

Guy

Beverly Hills, MI

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the diversity of the tour locations, from one coast to the other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked being in Rome among the ruins of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Michelangelo's works were awesome."

Mark

Eaton Rapids, MI

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experiences were so rich and varied; everything from the serenity of staying at a vineyard in Umbria to bustling streets of Rome. We could not have asked for more, or for a better guide. Are there places we would have liked to have stayed longer? Of course! And that is part of the traveling experience. We're already deciding what can be done again, on our own. But I would not have traded this tour for a self-tour. Kudos to Rick Steves and our guide, Donald!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picking one "wow" moment is virtually impossible. I have to say the mountain scenery of Tuscany and Umbria were in the Top Five. And so were those impossibly beautiful settings in Cinque Terre. Late in the evening in Monterossa, I listened to the village "sing" itself to sleep. The tourists were gone or had gone to sleep. The town was tucking itself in. A full moon lifted itself over the sea cliffs. Wow."

Kathy

Durham, NC

Tour: 09/24/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The best part of the tour was the information from our tour guide, Donald, and the other local guides. Each was very knowledgeable, helpful and able to communicate effectively and to make the art and historical sites relevant and come alive. I follow a plant-based diet and Donald went out of his way to make sure that food was available for me at the group dinners. This was much appreciated and unexpected!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments - seeing Michaelangelo's David, the Doge's Palace and the clock in Venice, the food served at the group dinners, the Hotel Villa Steno (gardens, view, everything), time spent in the Dolomites (surprising how special it was)."

Kathy

Framingham, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tour was excellent in every we way! We toured beautiful, historic areas, all the while learning about art, history, and culture. Italy came alive as a place of passion, controversy, and spirit. The tour was all that was promised and more. The small intimate nature of the group allowed for friendships to blossom through the shared experiences. The balance of guided activities and free time was perfect, as was the selection of clean, delightful, and centrally located hotels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several...hiking in the beautiful Dolomites, the breathtakingly large size of the Duomo in Florence, the twinkling lights of the cliff towns of Cinque Terra, the magnificence of our beautiful Villa Cipressi welcoming us to sparkling water of lake Cuomo were all standouts .And of course the gondola ride and scurrying through the tiny alleyways of Venice, delighting in the shops and the small local eateries we discovered."

Jane

Edina, MN

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time with Sarah, very knowledgeable about everything! Very impressive. Very fun group, everyone got along. We would recommend the tour to our friends!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think seeing the Pope! and i'm not even catholic! Also, at night listening to music at St Mark's square in Venice! Cinque Terre is great! Lake Como is a fairy land............I quess I like WATER!"

Joanne

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent range of locations, excellent coordination of getting places, truly overall excellent. Loved getting a countryside respite among the city stops. All very well planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many. Dolomites peaking out when rounding the corner on the windy road in the bus was first huge WOW. David in Florence. The Duomo in Florence. St. Marks Cathedral, first inside view brought tears. Even the Milan train station was a small wow. The FORUM in Rome."

Sam

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best Vacation ever. Will be taking more trips especially likely if we can hook up with Sarah again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vatican and seeing the Pope"

Donald

Brookeville, MD

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Like drinking from a cultural fire hose for 17 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The moment I realized that names like Michelangelo, Botticelli, Rodin, DaVinci, and others of that ilk were part of the everyday vernacular of this place."

Linda

Windsor, CO

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had such variety with historical giants such as Venice & Rome to small towns along the Cinque Terre and all the wonderful scenic landscape in between (including the Dolomites). Great balance of towns, history, art and the fun in just being there. Sarah was "eccellente". With her leadership, knowledge and guidance, I loved all the various experiences this tour offered. Great group of people. I have taken other Rick Steves' tours and each has been both unique and wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many to choose from...wonderful towns and landscape. Two favorites are Cinque Terre and Varenna. Wonderful people such as Franco in Venice. Also seeing the Pope. Plus, a very special time with Sarah in the San Brizio Chapel at Orvieto, one of my new favorite places."

Donna

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Was an excellent tour. At times the pace made me want to take a deep breath and take a little longer to savor the sights. Two nights at a stop only allows for one full day. The beginning afternoon and last morning were not wasted however.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick any one."

Michael

Windsor, CO

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

An enormous amount of information was given to us by Sarah..she's amazing. The side trip and demonstrations were special. Getting to experience the Popes Blessing was another keeper.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como and the villages around it was mine."

Celine

Santa Ana, CA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This truly was a trip of a lifetime. Everything worked out great tour director, excellent local guides, fun hotels and truly a remarkable group of people on the tour. Our fellow tour members were intellectually curious, full of fun and always upbeat. With Sarah's leadership, we all got comfortable exploring Italy both with our group and on our own. Our bus driver, Adrian, was quite amazing. He was always in the right place at the right time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was my first view of the Duomo in Florence. My brother spent a year in Florence and had told me how beautiful it is and I had just finished Ross King's book about it but my first view really did take my breath away."

Debbie

Natrona Heights, PA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful from the different cities, the group and expecially Sarah. What a wonderful young lady to guide us. All of the tour guides were informative. Just can't say enough.great time great people

Favorite "WOW" moment

"walking from Montarosse to Veranzza.we did it and wow what a beautiful sight"

Gary

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first day to the last day it was everything I hoped it would be. The itinerary let us experience what every city or town had to offer. All the main attractions, no lines, and enough free time to get lost in the most romantic places on earth. Top that of with the best guide I have ever had the pleasure to tour with and you have a tour that tops any grading system you can come up with. My hats of to the entire Rick Steves "family", this tour should never be changed! Mille grazie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was a wow moment everyday on the tour. Each stop there was one wow moment that I am grateful for, but if I was to pick one it would be the stay in the Cinque Terre. Our room was worthy of a 5 star rating just because of the patio and view. Watching the sunrise over the Mediterranean, and a peaceful snack and beverage before going for dinner. I will go back on my own time and spend a vacation in the Cinque Terre."

Pauline

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 09/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour itinerary was perfect, do not change a thing! I appreciated optimal use of travel time on the bus (very comfortable). Smart pit stop attractions (Pisa, Verona, San Gimignano) & optimized time & comfort with 2 night stays in clean hotels in great cities. Breakfasts were great & optimized time 4 sightseeing all day, & dinners were fabulous. Planned attractions were optimal use of time. Great guide (& local guides). Absolutely best value & experience for the money. Highly recommended.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many beautiful cities, experiences, views, people ... Every day was absolutely stellar, and I was so happy every day:) My 'wow' moment however was Cinque Terra. Sitting with my husband whom I love very much, on our private patio at Hotel Villa Steno (spectacular), overlooking the old town of Monteroso, its beautifully coloured buildings against a beautiful blue sky, fresh sea air, looking at the peaceful Meditteranean Sea .. very 'wow' indeed."

Joseph

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I saw and did things on the tour that I would never have experienced if I had to arrange it on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we stopped at the WW II cemetery. Very moving."

Mariah

Livermore, CA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome, awesome, awesome! The overall tour exceeded our expectations and we wouldn't hesitate to take another Rick Steves' tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Other than the Dolomites and Cinque Terre, we absolutely loved our stay near Orvieto!"

Andrea

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the first meeting the tour was well organized and fun. We had a very compatible group as was the group on our previous Rick Steves' tour. While we began early some days, it was only so that we could do more and was worth the effort. It is obvious that the tours are well thought out and planned so that no day seems to be simply "riding the bus". Our tour leader, Rainer, is a well educated and experienced guide. Our bus driver, Sourer, was professional, but fun with the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in the right spot at the right time. We were able to see church floors with incredible marble mosaics uncovered - only a short time each year. Actually, the wow is the quality of both the tour guide and the local guides. While we could have seen the same things without the tour, we would be unlikely to have encountered such excellent guides."

Liam

Novato, CA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour has given me the confidence to explore europe where I may not speak the language. This tour of Italy gave me a "taste" and now I know where I want to go back and spend some more time. the tour was great and the people were the best part of it. I left San Francisco a week before the tour started in Varenna and spent 4 days in London at the Cherry Court Hotel near Victoria Station. Using your London Guide book I explored the city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because of the Itenery I was able to research every place we went. One surprise that for me was a WOW moment was visiting the Florence American Cemetary. That was very powerful."

Frances

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Italy in 17 days was our 4th RS tour. We obviously like RS tours or we wouldn't keep returning. We feel we know what to expect and what not to. The one thing that stands out about this tour is that we enjoyed our tour companions much more than our other groups. I think there are a couple of reasons for this: Group consisted of more experienced travelers Group made more of an effort to be friendly Initial group introduction and follow-up reinforced the idea of getting to know each other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Pieta in Rome. Absolutely the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen. I only wish the viewing area had been less crowded. I could have spent more time just staring at it and focusing on the piece more intensely and committing it's beauty more to memory."

Susan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect! The hotels were all centrally located, clean and had beautiful breakfasts. Our guide, Rainer, our bus driver, Sauro had a special working relationship that was really fun, and our entire group was very compatible. The weather was great, and the areas selected were beautiful and special. We learned alot and had so much fun doing it. There was also needed down time to relax. It couldn't have been better planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Accademia Gallery, Michelangelo's David. Awesome in person. Couldn't believe we were standing in front of it. Also, Cinque Terre. So beautiful and the climbing was splendid!"

James

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/17/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour well planned and the guide beyond expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting tour members for the first time as a group on a terrace over looking lake Como ."

Mike

Bellngham, WA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We're really glad we chose this tour. The schedule was intense and we often wished we had more time at a given location, but as a result we saw so many interesting places! It was nice to not have to worry about finding accommodations, driving down narrow streets, and standing in long lines. We were also fortunate be part of an especially compatible group; we were all friends within a couple of days, and stayed that way. Karin, our guide, was absolutely wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments to choose from! In terms of attractions, I would have to say Michelangelo's David. It carries a positive energy I can't describe, and I could have just sat there for an hour or two. But my favorite destination, hands down, was the Cinque Terre. Monterosso was exactly what I imagined the Best of Italy to be: a small, sunny town built on a hill overlooking the water. We hiked, relaxed on the beach, and enjoyed a romantic evening to ourselves. Nice!"

Kathleen

St James, MN

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I had hoped, and more. The time spent in each location was perfect; any less than two nights would never have been adequate. It's quite obvious that all destinations had been well researched. I liked the "mix" that the tour offered.....2 very full days followed by a day with nothing scheduled in order that we could explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I wanted to see all the art that I could in the time allowed. Seeing the Pieta in St. Peter's was my "Wow" moment!!"

Nancy

Ventura, CA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had many: seeing The Birth of Venus; seeing The Pieta, walking down the street and coming around the bend to see the Colosseum, observing a demonstration of an Italian making pesto and them getting to eat it as part of a wonderful dinner, walking the wonderful little streets of Varenna, hearing the magical stories of the contradas in Siena and getting to have a meal in one, riding a bike around the wall in Lucca, etc etc."

Susan

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was more than I expected! Our group was congenial with positive, friendly people ready to undertake whatever activities the day would bring. We visited many cities with a good balance between more relaxed, nature oriented cities and bigger cities emphasizing the art and architecture. I regretted that we could not stay in Venice, Florence and Rome an extra night, but I guess we have a taste of the cities to entice us to visit again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day there seemed to be a new "wow" moment! Too many to count! The beautiful scenery of Lake Como, the Dolomites, and Cinque Terre; the unbelievable majesty, art, and workmanship of the Duomos; the quaintness and personality of the little towns, the canals, buildings, boats, and life in Venice; the beauty of the buildings, the art, and sculptures were all overwhelming. I loved it all!"

Lisa

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations in every way! We loved that the itinerary was organized so that there was time to slow down and relax in the smaller towns in between visiting the larger, more congested cities. We enjoyed great weather and loved our guide, Karin and travelling companions...would travel with them again in a heartbeat! We love the small group size (26), and how much room there was on the bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite memories will be in the smaller towns of Varenna on Lake Como and the Umbrian hill town of Orvieto, where we stayed at the Altarocca Wine Resort for two glorious nights. We loved the vistas and the ambience so much that my husband and I contemplated hiding out in the vineyards to be left behind!"

Cynthia

Corpus Christi, TX

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour. It was a great way to see and know Italy. Karin was a great tour guide and made the experience enjoyable and enlightening. I loved the surprises, such as the bike ride (not on the schedule), and the ability to do what we wanted. We did a lot of hiking which made it possible to eat a lot and not gain weight. The food was wonderful every where we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the gondola ride. Roy and I were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and Karin arranged an accordion player plus a woman with a beautiful soprano voice to entertain all of us ( everyone went). We got to ride with the music gondola after dark through the canals and experience a very romantic evening which everyone enjoyed."

Virginia

Pace, FL

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip was 17 days of pure bliss. There is not one moment I would change. Our guide was wonderful, full of knowledge mixed in with humor and personal experience. She was the icing on the cake. We loved the good mixture of structured time and free time. The hotels were wonderful. Our group dinners were such a treat. The food was wonderful and such fun to visit with our group. In felt like we were one big family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole 17 days were a WOW! There were wonderful sights and experiences around every corner."

Allora

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In the past we have always done our own planning and have been to Italy four times. This tour was very different in that we actually learned so much more about the country. We also enjoyed not having to worry about transportation, tickets to museums, and finding lodging. I appreciated meeting our fellow travelers and spending time with them. This trip included several towns we had not been to before such as Orvieto, Verona, Verenna, and San Gimignano.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hurricane in Florence. Not a planned event!"

Laurence

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful overall experience. The views, the food, the art, architecture and sculpture were all amazing. Our guide, Sarah, had a terrific way of keeping the group entertained and shifting gears on the fly when adjustments needed to be made.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say the view from the Eremo Gaudio in Varenna of Lake Como. We were blessed with sunny skies and the view of the lake from our balcony was breathtaking."

David

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a 30th wedding anniversary trip for my wife and I and it exceeded expectations in all respects - the various tour locations, the tour leaders, the fabulous group we travelled with - and the food!. We will be doing another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several - 1) the territorial views of Lake Como from our room, upon our arrival in Varenna, 2) the hike to Hutt in the Dolomite Mountains, 3) walking the streets of Venice hand in hand with my wife, 4) getting caught in a freak hailstorm waiting in line for the cathedral tour in Florence (yes.... we staying in line during a hailstorm!). Oh my!"

Mary

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We covered a large range of destinations with a large range and variety of experiences. Did some things I wouldn't have thought of if planning this trip on my own, ie. Lake Como and the Dolomites. The art exposure was wonderful and well explained. Our group was very compatible and our guide fostered our group relations. I did feel we were rushed many times by only having an hour or so in some of our stops and could have skipped Verona and Bolzano in order to spend more time in Venice and Flo

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the beauty of la Rocca, great place with comfy rooms and beautiful views."

Julie

Monee, IL

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I struggled between "very good" and outstanding since there were a few aspects that could have been handled better, but so much that was done so very well that I decided on "outstanding." I'd say 4.5 out of 5.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was walking into the Duomo in Sienna since I had just missed getting inside that Duomo in a previous trip and was so disappointed by not getting inside. This time I got inside with the group and then in my free time I went back inside and spent all the time I wanted admiring and soaking up the specialness of that place - and I went to the baptistery and the the museum too. No stone upturned! Sarah had suggested I buy the combo ticket so I could do just that; a great suggestion!"

George

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We tried to see too much in too short of a time. That does not mean that I did not enjoy myself. I loved seeing everything, however, as fatigue set in, things started to become a blur. You don't always get a good night sleep and you are changing beds every 2 nights. All in all it was a great learning experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Lake Como from my room terrce."

Daniel

Medical Lake, WA

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Sarah was awesome. She was very patient, knowledgeable, gave allot of valuable traveling abroad insight. I learned so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well for me it was lake Como, Montarosa and the Dolomites. But all the other areas we stopped at were also impressive to."

Kathy

West Deptford, NJ

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt the tour delivered in all categories - guides, hotels, food, wonderful cities as destinations, interesting extra side trips, lovely traveling companions. I had never met anyone that took a Rick Steves tour prior to our booking. Normally, I would not shell out that much money without hearing some feedback from someone I trusted. But I had a great deal of confidence and trust in Rick Steves. And I was right! I felt that everything was beautifully & thoughtfully organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many - how do you expect me to select one?! I loved Lake Como, the Dolomites, Venice, the Cinque Terra, Siena (& the dinner in one of the neighborhood community centers in Siena), San Gimignano, Assisi & our lunch in the Tuscan hills at the farm."

Rodger

West Deptford, NJ

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our first morning in Florence was intended to be a tour of the Uffizi Gallery. We arrived there only to find a union meeting delaying the opening by 2 hours. Our guide Sarah and local guide Cynthia huddled and quickly re-routed us to the Bargello museum. What a save of the morning! What a gallery. It seemed that every time we rounded a corner, there stood a sculpture I have seen in "the books". So much more impressive in person. Cynthia's ability to shift gears and her knowledge was key."

Erin

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, I really enjoyed the tour. The guides were wonderful, the size of the group (24 + 2 guides) was perfect, and I really feel like we got a ton of different Italian experiences. If we had tried to plan this trip ourselves, there were several places we never in a million years would have found so I appreciate the hard work put into planning the trip by the RS group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many little things that felt like bonuses just for us. Specifically the Hotel Seelaus in the Dolomites, the Alta Rocca Wine Resort near Orvieto, and the Hotel Steno in Monterosso were fantastic! I LOVED the hike and lunch in the Alpine meadow, the forcola workshop demo, the stained glass demo in Siena, and being adopted by the Selva contrada in Siena. We also had a special side trip to the Poggio Alloro agriturismo for lunch and wine tasting that was really fun."

LeAnn

Boulder, CO

Tour: 09/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first "tour" with ANY company. We learned culture and customs of regions better than digging through guide books on our own. Much more depth and knowledge gained. Fast group entry to sites, duomos. Transportation/lodging comfort & ease.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Alta rocca stay. An exotic place with something for everyone: farm experience, luxurious rooms, wine tasting meal, short hike to a high rock, and even spa/massage facilities for those in need. Plus option of day trip to walled in Orvieta. Close 2nd: Seelhaus stay near Compatsch. Loved the hiking (we and another couple continues afar after the hutte lunch. This high alpine meadow was great scenery ---the Dolomites spectacular!"

Kc

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife and I had a very enjoyable time on the tour. We enjoyed the balance of structured learning and touring vs free time. We also enjoyed the diverse areas we saw; whether it be the mountainous regions of Varenna and the Dolomites all the way to the coastline cities and inland major cities. We especially enjoyed the balance of quite regions/cities to the busy major cities. It gave us time to recuperate after some busy days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had two favorite wow moments. The first was the shocking terrain of the Dolomites. We really enjoyed the Bavarian influenced part of Italy as well as all the outdoor activities we could/did partake in. Our second wow moment was near the end of the trip in Umnbria. We were awed by the wine resort we stayed at. It was just what we needed in order to rest up from the tour thus far as well as prepare for busy Rome."

Andrea

Menlo Park, CA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour covers an amazing amount of places in Northern Italy. The itinerary for the tour is top notch and provides a very nice mix of busy city with relaxing country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice was just absolutely magical once the cruise ships departed at around 4 pm. The Venice gondola ride experience, complete with accordion and singer, was unforgettable. Also enjoyed hiking in Cinque Terre and swimming in the stormy waters of the Ligurian Sea."

Eric

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well organized, our guide, Robin, was exceptionally knowledgeable, her ability to stand up in the bus and tell stories involving history in an engaging and informative way, with no notes or prompts was quite remarkable. The tour packed a lot in to the 17 days and where small adjustments were required to handle unanticipated events like the "meetings" by the staff in the Uffizi in Florence, they were handled well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the Dolomites were incredible, lush, peaceful, good for the soul. one of my best moments was sitting high on a ridge walk looking down over the valley and just savouring the moment. The other wow moment was the evening gondola ride in Venice with the lit Rialto bridge in the background."

Nancy

Menlo Park, CA

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations. Since we didn't speak Italian, taking a tour seemed like a good idea. The itinerary showed us what Italy is about and staying in each location two nights gave us an opportunity to explore the "tourist" things as well as discoveries of our own. Our tour guide, Robin, modified our schedule, depending on the weather, and she was terrific. We were able to hike the Cinque Terre (which was the main reason why we chose this particular tour) before the rains came.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's not fair...there were so many but I'll list three: 1) walking into our room in Varenna at Eremo Gaudio with the fabulous view of Lake Como, this after traveling for 23 hours, we could feel our stress disappear; taking the vaporetto on the Grand Canal and seeing the beautiful old buildings glisten in the sunlight...wow!! A romantic dream come true; 3) coming up from the Metro in Rome to see the silhouette of the Colosseum!! WOW!"

Dorina

Summerfield, FL

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was excellent and our guide Robin was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had been to Venice & Rome so time in the Dolomites & Cinque Terre were new & fantastic, the sights beautiful, the food out of this world. The Vineyard at Orvieto with accommodations at the Altarocca Wine Resort outstanding. In Siena the artisan workshop and the dinner with locals at the church were memorable. We loved the entire trip and would like to do a 3rd Steve's trip in the future."

Chelsea

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/10/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My new husband and I went on the Rick Steves 17 day tour of Italy for our honeymoon, which was truly an amazing experience. The guided tour was a great way to spend our honeymoon as it allowed us to see all the major cities and tourists attractions of Italy, without having to plan and book the tickets ourselves, and without having to wait in any lines! It was also really great not having to plan transportation from city to city. Our overall experience was amazing for this once-in-lifetime trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "wow" moment was hiking in the Dolomites.The Dolomites are a part of Italy I would have never thought to spend time if I was planning a trip to Italy myself, yet it ended up being one of my most favrourite places on the trip. The hotel was very cute with friendly staff, the food was unbelievable, and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. My husband and I went on a 5 hour hike in the Dolomites during our free day, and it was an experience I will never forget!"

Alen

Redlands, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Except for the fact that my feet will never be the same, it couldn't have been better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Dante and Machiavelli, all in one relatively small church."

Sheila

Okotoks, AB

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was a very good tour for me, I loved the fact that I could do some hiking but still be on a tour. We did the hike up to the little church when we were at Lake Como, also at Chinque Terre and of course the Dolomites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was seeing Chinque Terre, it was the fact that this tour went there that encouraged me to choose it. It lived up to my expectations and more but would have liked one more day there. Second wow moment was seeing the Dolomites, I had no expectations for there and it was amazing."

Gail

Randolph, NJ

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved our recent trip to Italy. At first I had reservations about riding on the bus every other day for 4 hours but I must say Mary made the time go by quickly. She also kept us informed and gave us plenty of history and stories that kept our interest. I also like how we stopped to tour along the way or have lunch which broke up the ride.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Varenna . It was so beautiful and relaxing.the Dolomites were also so beautiful!"

William

Arkadelphia, AR

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is the most convenient and secure way to learn about the most important sights where you are traveling while at the same time being given the opportunity to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we walked into the room housing the statute of David in Florence and could see this larger than life character whose every detail was outlined in stone, i felt this is unbelieveable. No photo could do this creation justice."

James

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was great. Mary the tour guide was excellent. The group was great. The places we went were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. The realization that the Roman Empire was great because of the Etruscans before them. 2. The Black Plague, along with the Protestant Reformation, and the discovery of the "new" world all occurred in a 150-year period and shook European society to the core. 3. Italian culture was very advanced to create so much commerce that it allowed the arts to fluorish. 4. We should introduce contradas (Sienna) in the US"

Karen

La Verne, CA

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was better than I ever expected. I thought it would be educational and fun and that is how it was! Our guide was so knowledgeable with background information and directions we needed at each place. Pacing was excellent. Hotels were excellent and bus driver was superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say that seeing the David sculpture was amazing."

John

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very well organized and well run, plus Donald was just full of funny stories & anecdotes. All 19 of us made a very special effort to get along with each other, and the results became obvious as the tour went along. Donald hovered over us and nothing was misplaced and no one was lost for very long or put into any jeopardy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1.Walking around the corner and seeing all of those statues in front of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. 2. The whole experience of eating at the Hotel Pasquale in Monterosso."

Gary

Vernon Hills, IL

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We enjoyed the trip very much. The timing of the trip was good staying approximately 1.5 days and 2 nights in each city. The tour guide Donald did an excellent/outstanding job. His historical knowledge and quick witted personality kept things interesting. The size of the group 22 people gave us good mobility. The bus driver Adrian did an excellent job both driving and talking with the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the Lake Como area, and the Siena wine resort, and the beach in Cinque Terre"

Helen

Palm Coast, FL

Tour: 09/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was excellent and for our first visit to Italy, perfect way to get acquainted with major sites, cities, small villages and water-side locations. Terrific hotel locations with helpful staff. Our meals will never be forgotten. Our guide, Donald, was wonderful, extremely well informed and organized the group like clockwork without us feeling rushed. Very well planned active tour, with nice combination time on our own and planned activities. Size of group was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments were arriving and staying in beautiful, serene Varenna on Lake Como; walking the streets of Venice at 6:30 a.m. before the city woke up; opening our hotel window in enchanting Monterosso in Cinque Terre; visiting artisian merchants in charming Orvieto, San Gimignano and Bolzano; and our Umbria resort near Orvieto. Feeling the high energy of Rome and viewing the beautiful architecture."

Patricia

Shaker Heights, OH

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found this tour very fulfilling. I enjoyed the size of the group and the people who composed it. Sarah was a fantastic guide who provided many delightful surprises for our group. The travel on the bus and the multiple moves among various hotels were surprisingly smooth.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terre was a delightful surprise. It was breathtaking."

Laura

Alta Loma, CA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had the best people on our tour! Everyone got along beautifully. I was pleasantly surprised by the activity level and optional hikes in some of the most beautiful scenery. The group dinners were such great fun, great food, and even better company! This trip will be hard to top!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "WOW" moment was in Florence when we were on a walking tour and we came around the corner and the grandeur of the Duomo was AMAZING!!! what a spectacular building!"

Francisco

Poway, CA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was better then i ever expected. Our group consisted of a wide variety of very special individuals. We got along great because we cared for one another and Sarah (our guide) made us feel very special. We fed of her love for Italy and her enthusiasm for history and adventure. Problems encountered during the tour were like hiccups, if you weren't paying attention you didn't even know they occurred, they did not interfere with our tour, and we thank Sarah for that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment occurred in Venice, we walked out of the restaurant and saw this beautiful full moon reflecting of the water...and then Sarah (tour guide) arranged gondola rides for the entire group. Four of us were asked to get in a Gondola, and after we sat down an elderly man and a young girl with what looked to be a suitcase got in with us. I was clueless as we launched, and then an accordion appeared and the nice man started serenading us under a full moon...it was amazing!!!"

Anthony

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Sarah was beyond outstanding. She was knowledgeable, insightful and she made our entire trip truly enjoyable! We had a great group and this made the entire trip even more enjoyable. Every detail was skillfully planned including hotels, meals and even our excellent bus driver!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a wow moment! I celebrated my 57th birthday in Venice. We enjoyed an evening gondola ride and Sarah had a singer and accordion player on one of the gondola's. They sang "Happy Birthday" to me in Italian on the Grand Canal - truly memorable!!!"

David

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fantastic tour. We saw so much of Italy, the people, the culture, the history and the food and wine. Our tour group was so connected and we had a great time together. Sarah, our tour guide, was so knowledgeable and well organized and this kept our group on track. We also had a wonderful bus driver who was kind, warm and who seemed to care about us. We came home with so many wonderful memories and photos of our experience in Italy. We can't stop talking about it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was more than one but the one that really stands out is our experience in Orvieto where we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Altaroca Wine Resort and the town of Orvieto. This place was so spectacular and we loved the meals, the wine and the massage!! It was a very special part of our experience in Italy."

Sharla

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed seeing and experiencing the small towns just as much as the cities that people talk about when visiting Italy. The tour was a good mix of group sightseeing as well as exploring on your own. The hotel accommodations were excellent-comfortable and in central location in the town so it was easy to access after being out seeing the sights. We had a fun group to travel with and have made some life long friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of hiking in the Dolomites and walking along the coast of the Mediterranean in the Cinque Terre. The visits to the two wineries was fun and breathtaking as we relaxed looking over the rolling hills of vineyards. I enjoyed each local guide and their knowledge and passion for their city, museum or town. A special touch was the visit to the local craftsmen to see gondola oar making and stain glass."

Barbara

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations! Accomodations were very satisfactory. I thought the plan of the trip was terrific. It started out in relaxed fashion, which allowed for the stress of travel and meeting new folks. There was a nice ebb and flow of locations and activities. I liked the balance of planned activities and free time with suggestions for other activities. I appreciated the opportunity to be more active - climbing to the castle in Assisi, climbing the tower in Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the "David" in Florence. It was made more meaningful by our guide suggesting how to look at him - going to where Goliath would be standing, observing the expression in David's face. It opened me to a whole new way of looking at thin."

Antoinette

Odenton, MD

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trying this for the 3rd time. Looks like I cannot minimize. We took a group tour as we felt arranging travel in a country that can be prone to strikes would add stress to our visit. The tour exceeded our expectations. Our guide, Sarah Murdoch, was amazing. We traveled to many places (the Dolomites, Cinque Terre, Assisi) that we probably wouldn't have visited on our own. And our fellow group members were interesting, involved, and added to our overall enjoyment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyone says they had many and that is so true. My favorites were: turning the corner in Florence, seeing the Duomo and being awed, then turning further, seeing only the Duomo filling the horizon and being overwhelmed; sitting and looking up in the Sistine Chapel and gazing at Michelangelo's unbelievably beautiful and detailed depiction of creation; basking in a perfect September afternoon at an agritourism farm while enjoying a wine tasting and the company of fellow tour members."

Marianne

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible journey! Seeing so many beautiful places, being able to see things off the beaten path, meeting the people and the artists - it was one of the very best travel experiences I have had. I only wish we'd had an extra day in some of the larger cities - Florence, Venice, Siena, Rome - but that just means I'll have to go back!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so hard to articulate a favorite moment there were so many of them. But I guess one that I wasn't expecting and was utterly enamored with was the additional information about Siena's Palio. I knew about the race, but learning about the neighborhood Contrada traditions - and having a Contrada create a meal for us and share the traditions and their win in 2011 was unexpected and over the top. I LOVED IT! (and I bought several of the Contrada scarves to share with my loved ones as a resul"

Matthew

Alta Loma, CA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First time in Europe and I think doing it with the Rick Steve's Tour was the right choice. Having all the details planned and taken care of, great Hotels and locations, the "local feel" of the tour, free time when you need it and a great guide is spot on for a tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pretty tough question when the whole tour was "WOW"! All of my wow moments included breath taking landscapes, beautiful architecture and the sights showing and explaining how civilizations were physically built on top of each other."

George

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A few flaws, but overall the tour was well-organized and well-led. It's too bad that the constant fighting huge and rude crowds detracted from the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's one thing to read about buildings and works of art in books -- it's so much better to see them in person! Also, the tour contained some unexpected surprises, including the Dolomites and Cinque Terre."

Maria

Naples, FL

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We knew this tour of Northern Italy would be the trip of a lifetime - and it was! Words cannot express how much we enjoyed this trip! It was truly 'magical' every day! The trip was so well planned for us to experience the large well known cities/towns/sites as well as the small villages, back roads and insider tours. The surprise tours when we met the local experts were the most memorable. This trip is worth every penny - it was a priceless experience you could never plan on your own!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many "wow" moments for me to choose just one. My favorite areas were Lake Como and the Cinque Terre - but I was also surprised to love Venice as much as I did. Our gondola ride with a full moon, Italian singer and accordion was at the top of our list for experiences. Hiking in the Dolomites was awesome! Our favorite surprises were meeting the woodworker in Venice, the stained-glass expert in Florence and the farm experience. These experiences would not be found on other tours!"

Mark

Shaker Heights, OH

Tour: 09/03/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Tour Guide,Sarah, was terrific in many aspects. She was very knowledgeable about Italy, the language as she spoke it fluently, the dinners she planned were awesome, the sights -planned and impromptu-were very educational. Many commented during the tour that this exceeded their expectations and I certainly agree. The guides that she used for Venice, Verona, Rome and Orvieta were great and they complemented Sarah very well. The restaurant tips were excellent e.g. Nella in Florence.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop in San Gimignano was great as it was completely unknown amongst the group. The wine tasting, lunch and tour of the vineyard/farm was super. The walk thru the old village was quite impressive and the views of Tuscany were "postcard perfect"."

Walter

Newcastle, ON

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Felt very comfortable with how the tour was organized. It took out all my stress of planning to see what we would see next and how we would find it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Venice was my no. 1 WOW moment....and a close 2nd was the Basilica in Rome!"

Elizabeth

Hilton Head Island, SC

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very good and BUSY. We got a lot of exercise and got to see and do things most tourists wouldn't, like the meal in the depths of the contrada in Siena, or the forcula making demonstration in Venice. We also liked the stained glass presentation in Siena. Hiking in the Dolomites and the Cinque Terre was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Dolomites - the sharp rise from the ground and the pink color were amazing."

David

Kingston, ON

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Extremely enjoyable and so well organized. Rainer was the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. As a group we clicked, Venice was Venice, the hiking and the Lake Como area, but the most memorable parts were the interactions with experts talking about stained glass, pesto, gondola oar making and the Sienna Rhino evening"

Eric

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a really good time, and there were no real complications or difficulties. Our accomodations were fine, if not deluxe for the most part, and the hotels were well-located in terms of seeing the big sights. Our guide, Rainer, was very helpful, courteous and hard-working, and we all appreciated his efforts. I'm looking forward to taking my next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were walking along a road in RioMaggiore in the Cinque Terre, and we came by a church from which organ music was coming. The door was open and we walked in, sat down, and enjoyed about a 15 minute "concert" from the organist, who was practicing. It was delightful!"

Maria

Newcastle, ON

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! First time on a Rick Steves' tour, however, an avid watcher of his tours on PBS channel. The tour met every aspect of my expectations. Did not feel like cattle being led, instead, took out all the headaches/stresses of trying to organize and not miss anything that I dreamed of seeing......this tour is making me long for more!!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everywhere we went, there was a WOW moment in each place, and each WOW was for a different reason. I always knew I would love Italy, but the greatest WOW is how much in love I am....from the scenery to their history, to the people, to the food! (pictures, postcards, movies do not do justice to the way you feel walking, feeling and looking in/at the rich history of Italy) The biggest WOW is......I wanted to savour each WOW longer. I wish the tour was 1 night longer in each place."

Bernard

Aurora, IL

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Rick Steves Italy in 17 Days Tour exceeded our expectations. The itinerary was well planned, our tour guide was outstanding, the hotel locations were very good, the bus was top of the line and not crowded, our group was extremely congenial, the group meals were of high quality and provided a great opportunity to get to know our fellow travelers, and we have become firm believers in traveling light. We will be back for more Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On this tour there there can be no one favorite "wow" moment; there are inevitable multiple "wow" moments: hiking in the Dolomites, taking gondola rides in Venice, turning the corner and seeing Michelangelo's David in Florence, seeing Luca Signorelli's frescoes in the Chapel of San Brizio in Orvieto, walking out of the subway in Rome and seeing the Colosseum, and of course, walking through the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica."

Kevin

Kingston, ON

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was not just a travel experience but also an educational one. Our guide was knowledgeable about everything from history to art to to the culture to sourcing the best gelato in every stop. I enjoyed the fact that we were not scheduled every minute and we were encouraged to jump into the cities, getting lost to find ourselves. I could not imagine trying to plan and execute this trip on my own. I felt prepared for every stop and this helped us take it all in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! The times when I found myself exclaiming "Oh my" was in some of the churches and definitely the galleries. But I suppose the best was sitting on our balcony in Cinque Terre watching the rise of a full moon over the hills after a great supper. Doesn't get much better."

Bruce

Cincinnati, OH

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Since I paid a reasonable price, I was expecting a stripped down tour. Rick Steves exceeded my expectations on 3 levels: 1. I was expecting sketchy hotels in iffy neighborhoods. The rural hotels were jaw dropping, and the urban hotels were always clean and well located. 2. Rainer was knowledgeable enough to lead all the city tours, but the passion and variety of the city tours we received was truly amazing. 3. After seeing other mega-groups tour, I was thankful for our size of 27 people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the Dolomites! So many other tours skip that because it's out of the way between Lake Como and Venice. Just as important as seeing the big three cities of Italy, is seeing the villages and the towns. Our hike in the mountains will never be forgotten."

Patricia

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/31/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful guide...so knowledgeable, relaxed, personable and attention to details. Hotels were great, except one in Venice which had faulty hairdryer but we told them about it! Itinerary is packed with important stops. Probably could have spent 1hour or less in Orvieto because the Wine Resort was so wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many! Sensory overload of art. Dinner in Kastelruth was wonderful, and the town is charming."

Linda

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour worked very well for us as first time travelers to Europe. It was a good balance of planned time and time on your own. Having the logistics of lodging, travel, local tours, etc planned for us made the entire trip enjoyable and stress-free. The tour stresses being able to walk several miles and handle your own luggage and that is very accurate! I loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments! The Cinque Terra (hiking between Monterosso and Vernazza), seeing how a Forcole is made, hiking in the Dolomites......"

Jon

Mill Creek, WA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We signed up for the Best of Italy tour because we wanted to see as much of Italy as possible, learn as much about Italy as possible. We decided to go one day early and stay one day later. The tour exceeded our expectations in seeing and learning! We knew we would visit 8 cities for two nights each, but we ending up seeing 18 different cities through mid day bus stops and visits to other places while on our free days. This coverage was outstanding. Our tour manager was also outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the Cinque Terre and the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. That whole day was fantastic in seeing sites that were so unique and different, special beyond words. We traveled by foot, train, and boat. If we ever come back to Italy, it will be first and foremost to re-visit Monterosso and the other Cinque Terre cities."

Francine

Shorewood, WI

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour was a hectic schedule of beautiful towns and interesting sights mostly in northern Italy. Outstanding local guides, quality hotels, and wonderful traveling companions created a charged atmosphere of camaraderie and curiosity about Italy's history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Ice Man (Otzi) museum in Bolzano was a fascinating look at the beginnings of society. I was particularly intrigued with how the scientists used modern-day forensics to discover how he was killed, how well his people had adapted to their environment, and how metalworking and decorative arts developed."

George

Pleasant Hill, CA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fast paced, historical tour covering 2000 years and most of Italy. I was last in Italy 28 years ago and it has changed tremendously. The crowds were unbearable in Venice and Rome, but Ferdi always made the experiece enjoyable no matter where we were.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Cinque Terre, Lake Como, and the Dolomites. These areas were new to me and most enjoyable."

Penelope

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great from start to finish. Travel on the bus was comfy, and the wifi was great to have. Jackomo, is an excellent bus driver! The accommodations were clean and comfortable. Some of our rooms along the way had great views too. And everyone on our tour was friendly, which was a plus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were quite a few! The Dolomites, visits to the forcola craftsman in Venice and the stained glass maker in Siena, and all the local guides."

Barbara

Normandy Park, WA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As a first time Rick Steve's tour participant I was not disappointed in any way. I was not sure about the amount of time on the Bus but found the travel time to be very relaxing. This gave me time to catch up emails,reading, post card writing and of course napping. At times I found the length of time walking and standing overwhelming. The ability to pick and choose the sights I was most interested in seeing and skip a few of the others worked well for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Venice and one "wow" moment would be riding on any of the boats. The Gondola was romantic with the moon over head and the singing. The Vaporettos were exciting and a good way to see things. Having just read a novel about Venice things seemed familiar and my excursion to Murano was challenging. Don't tell Ferdi, our tour guide,but after that adventure I really appreciated the "guided" part of the tours! And Lake Como and the Cinque Terra and the Dolomites and . . . All were wonderful"

Jean

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 08/29/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were very excited about tour since it was our first time in Italy. We were very happy with the itinerary. Our overall experience was dampened a bit by illness three days in to trip that lasted nearly the entire 17 days and required 2 doctor visits. We are very active people so this was pretty frustrating as it limited some of our activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmmmm...tough to pick just one. The thunder and lightning in Tuscany was beautiful. We were most enthralled with the contradas in Siena. And of course the wine!"

Linda

St Peters, MO

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing! We saw so much and felt like we really got a taste of the Italian way of life. Stephanie was a wonderful guide and made sure everyone had the best experience possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The nighttime gondola ride in Venice was definitely a wow moment"

Ellen

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Learned lots of things to do from tour guides, but did not have any time to do those things. Two nights was not enough time in each city; three nights would have given us time to explore on our own, independently. We were constantly touring and not enough time to explore. The city day trips were just right on time except not enough time for lunchtime; It was rushed. Also, the late dinners were too heavy for us tourists; most of use were over 50 years and were eating lighter dinners.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several Wows: 1. The view of the Alps and the valley from our room and hiking. 2. The Florence Duomo at night; just a beautiful sight. 3. Touring Lake Como at morning, noon and sunset and all the beautiful cities we visited there, even though it was raining. 4. Viewing Rome from the top of City Government building, even though we did not get to ride up elevator to higher viewing point. Views were all gorgeous Wows! 5. Venice's Grand Canal views from the bridges. 6. The winery/farm tour."

Paul

Reno, NV

Tour: 08/24/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were pleasantly surprised with having a smallish number of tour participants. Our tour guide, Stephanie and her student guide, Sara were excellent! They both were very pleasant, informative and very personable. Our tour bus driver, Dino, was awesome....having him on our tour was such a delight! Dino sets the bar very high...I hope our next tour bus driver can match him! Overall experience was great....we are already thinking of another tour next year! Met some very nice fellow travelers!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was "wow"...but I particularly liked the Dolomites and Venice. Every aspect of the trip was great!"

Garry

Asheville, NC

Tour: 07/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Greatly exceeded our expectations! Wonderful mix of experienced guides and individual exploration. All accommodations were outstanding, travel experience (tour bus/driver) was terrific, and selected cities/sites were truly wonderful. We cannot praise our guide, Stephanie, enough. She not only guided a long, complex tour, but made every effort to offer additional opportunities for us to enjoy. Thank you very much, Stephanie!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite wow moment - walking from the train in Varenna to the shore of Lake Como, our first night's stay in Italy. The beauty of the lake was spectacular and the small town looked (and was) so inviting."

Kelly

Redmond, WA

Tour: 07/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Simply amazing! I could not have organized or figured out so many wonderful places to eat, sleep, and visit. Our guide, Stephanie, was phenomenal and I feel like my dream of going to Italy for the last 15 years exceeded my expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've been telling everyone that really it was the whole package...the diversity of locations we visited, the educational experience, and of course, the food!"

Lee

Indialantic, FL

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a magical tour that exceeded my expectations. My girlfriend and I got engaged at Lake Como at the beautiful Hotel Royal Victoria Hotel. She actually lost the ring an hour later while we where out on the back overlook of the leach/ lake. The staff that works the midnight shift help me find it on the rocky beach a few hours later. Ann was a fantastic tour leader and the group became our second family. Each tour stop seemed to be fascinating in its own way. Can't wait for next tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Obviously getting engaged at Lake Como, but the hike at the Cinque Terre from town to town was absolutely amazing. We would have enjoyed more time at Cinque Terre."

Jean

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was surprised by the quality of hotels we stayed in. Awed by the scenery we passed on the bus. Impressed with the meals and wine dinners provided by the tour. The group we traveled with couldn't have been nicer. The bus driver, Mikela was amazing as to the curvy roads he had to drive on. Met his family and liked him very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying at the Winery Resort near Orvieto. Two swimming pools? Wow! And the dinners and wine tasting, over the top. Also, the gondola ride in the evening with accompanying music."

Renee

Stanwood, WA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeding our expectations in every way. We met wonderful new friends and saw and did so much. We are sold - Rick Steve's tours are the ONLY way to travel!!

James

Beaufort, SC

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best of Italy in 17 days tour was outstanding in every sense. I believe that this tour provided me with a basic feel for the various regions that we traveled through and visited. It is hard to imagine prettier landscapes, friendlier people and more beautiful buildings, not to mention the amazing historical structures such as the Roman Arena, Pantheon and the Forum. In addition to the Italy tour, itself, the friendships made during the tour with my fellow travelers, are also very valuable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many amazing sites that it is hard to pick any one that was a "wow" moment. But, when I stepped out of the subway and saw the Roman Area that was a real "wow" moment for me. For years I had seen movies about gladiators and battles in that stone structure. Now to see the real thing is not something that can easily be described in words."

Vicki

Seabeck, WA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had wanted to go to Italy but the logistics of planning a trip that would take us to all the places we wanted to see was daunting. We were skeptical about a "group tour" however we thought the 17 day tour would allow us to see it all. We were so pleasantly impressed with our tour mates, Ann was a fantastic tour guide (down to earth, on time, kept everything running like a well oiled machine, a great sense of humor, understands Americans, yet has so many loves of Italy that were shared.)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each city was impressive in its own way, however, Lake Como, San Gimignano, the Dolmites, Sorrento and Cinque Terra were so laid back, gave us a great glimpse of daily life for Italians and we were able to share the beauty of the areas with them. We are so pleased we were able to see so many cities and the crowded ones had plenty to see--but you only stayed for 2 days."

Jim

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour was great! As were driver and the guide. Liked that we stayed in San Giamignono instead of Siena. Liked Balzano and Northern Italy

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the Mediterranean for the first time and the spectacular scenery of Northern Italy."

Todd

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every moment of it. Great people, great guide, great bus driver, great hotels, and great stops. My only regret is that I'd love to spend more time at each stop. But my family and I had never been to Italy and wanted to experience as much as we could. We saw all we could so that when we return to Italy, we can pick and choose a couple stops that we stay at for much longer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment of the tour was the cooking class we took in the castle outside of San Gimignano. I never envisioned enjoying that experience going into the trip, but I definitely think it was my favorite experience. Cooking different parts of the meal as a group and then dining on it was a blast. Since our return home, we used the recipe that we received that day to recreate our experience. Just unbelievable to me."

Christine

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience exceeded my expectations. I traveled with my husband and two teenage sons on our first family trip to Europe. We decided to join a Rick Steves tour to avoid the lengthy and stressful pre-trip planning process. I thought we could "put up with" the group dynamics and bus rides. I was pleasantly surprised that we ENJOYED both the group and the bus. Our fellow travelers were relaxed but adventurous travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was spending an exorbitant amount for coffee sitting in St. Mark's Square in Venice. And it was worth every penny. In the evening, the crowds of tourists left the city, the air cooled down, and the city's beautiful alter-ego was revealed. The square was breathtakingly beautiful. Live music was playing at the cafes. To sit, relax, and take in the magic of Venice – the moment was priceless."

Stephen

Seabeck, WA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were hesitant about signing up for a tour since we'd always traveled on our own in Europe and Asia. We were very happy that we did. We visited numerous beautiful locations that we would not have gone to had we been planning our own trip. When we travel on our own, we often spend time waiting at terminals, standing in lines, or losing time to figuring out next steps because of not unfamiliarity with the territory. There was none of that on this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but my favorite was seeing the Dolomites and hiking in the Alpi di Suissi. This is an area we would not have visited had we been doing an Italy trip on our own so we would never have seen this incredibly beautiful place."

David

Phillips, WI

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a variation of sites in Italy. Great tour guide in Karin. Great knowledge, honesty and personality. Great accomodations with little worry about logistics. At times, the number of churches/art was overwellming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites!!!"

Yvonne

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip , we met interesting fellow travelers and saw a lot .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Alpine meadows ,Sienna and Umbria ."

Ray

Edmonds, 98020

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful trip, we saw a lot and met real nice travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The alpine meadows ,Cinque Terre villages and Sienna .All great [places to see."

Diane

Nevada City, CA

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We feel the tour totally exceeded our expectations. Our tour guide, Karin, was charming, full of historical information and personal insights and somehow kept us on schedule without ever rushing us. Our bus driver Dino was equally charming. The dinners were delicious and fun. In addition to the great tours of cities, museums and churches we had experiences hiking alpine meadows, cooking ravioli and biscotti in a real castle, relaxing at the sea at Cinque Terre, & wine tasting in Umbria.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment came as a complete surprise to me. As I walked towards" La Pieta" in St. Peter's my eyes filled with tears and I was choked up.Unlike "David" which was beautiful and colossal like a god, this was so human and tragic. The lifeless son in the arms of his loving mother---It was as if I knew her."

Judith

Pinole, CA

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved all the places we visited. Especially enjoyed the demonstrations at the wood shop in Venice and stained glass in Sienna, visiting the Contrada Della Selva in Sienna, getting the background story on the Paleo Horse Race. Preparation our lunch at Castelio De Oliveto was also a big highlitght of the trip. These interactions gave me a greater appreciation and connection of the area we were visiting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hicking in the Dolomites. Beautiful day and scenery!"

Terrie

Clinton, MS

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the balance of structured and free time. ALOT of stairs!!! Beautiful scenery. Italians were very patient with our language barrier and our inexperience with their money. Loved the local guides and hotels. Very nice. I love the way Karen knew the language, their culture, and their history. Best guide ever!!!!!! Give her a raise!!!!!! A lot to absorb in a short about of time. You called it " The Best of Italy" - you weren't kidding!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Were several but the one that made me cry was the Colosseum. Hated the giant pock marks in the walls where it was robbed of its iron. Romans were very smart people. New appreciation for their ingenuity. Would love a way to send donations to their restoration projects. Although, there were the Alps...."

Vicki

Palm Harbor, FL

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everyday and every stop was a total new experience. So many interesting things to explore with the group and on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Cinque Terre and seeing Varrrena coming down the trail."

Gail

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Karin and our bus driver Dino made the tour exciting, fun, and educational. All my expectations were surpassed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing "David" in Florence, hiking in the Dolomites and in the Cinque Terra, feeling the excitement of the Palio in Siena, experiencing the Vatican and the Colosseum/Forum in Rome, staying in the winery in Umbria, wandering through all the beautiful towns in between."

Michael

Clinton, MS

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All things considered I cannot imagine how the trip could have gone any better. The guide, driver, transportation, hotels, sites visited, and group meals were exceptional. I was very satisfied with all aspects of the tour. I will not hesitate to go on another Rick Steves tour in the future and would gladly recommend this tour and the Rick Steves organization to any interested traveler.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since each place visited was so different and delightful it is difficult to identify a favorite "wow" moment but two events stand out. First is the group gondola ride down the Grand Canal in Venice as the sun was setting. Imagine five gondolas grouped together and moving in tandem down the canal with our own personal singer and accordion player. How does that get any better? Second, the most fun I had was the group cooking event and lunch at a 400 year old castle."

Nicola

Barrington, RI

Tour: 06/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was great but some of the guided tours should be shortened. I felt as if we were seeing endless Duomos and perhaps could have seen other things of interest.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gondola ride at night in Venice."

John

Little River, SC

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I wasn't quite sure what to expect since it was the first time I toured with a group. Following some guide around waving a teddy bear attached to a stick was not the way I wanted to visit Italy. I was pleased to discover that my concerns were unfounded. I don't know of a better way to experience Italy for the first time. The places we visited were rich and varied. Great food. Our tour guide, Ferdi, was a delightful travel companion and an indispensable asset in orienting us to each new place.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Possibly Siena. A place so old yet still a vibrant. A midieval town where families have been living in the same neigborhoods and carrying on the same local traditions for hundreds of years."

Charles

Wakefield, RI

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had previously taken two Rick Steves tours--one to Ireland and another to Scotland. Both were great tours, but we found the Italy in 17 Days to be the most enjoyable. The tour provided us with breath-taking natural beauty, delicious food, in-depth exposure to history and culture--all with a careful balance between locations that offer relaxation in scenic beauty with places that immerse one in history and culture. I cannot conceive of a more carefully planned tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the hike through Alpe di Siusi was a "wow" experience--to be walking across rolling meadows covered with wild flowers, looking down on "Heidi-like" pastoral scenes, and surrounded by towering mountains! Then, to return to our lodging in the quaint Austrian-like village of Castelrotto was like returning to a time long past."

Jacqueline

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Italy is my favourite European destination. My overall tour experience was excellent. The tour was extremely well organized. Very little time was lost due to lineups for attractions. There was a good combination of organized activities and free time. We were taught independent traveler skills along the way. We even had an up close and personal moment with Roman pickpockets. Nothing was lost.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments. It is hard to pick just one. How about hiking the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza? Or maybe the look on my fisher husband's face as he walked into St. Peter's in Rome? Or the excitement as first time to Rome visitors made the climb to the top of St. Peter's? Or enjoying a quiet reflective moment in the garden at our hotel in Lake Como? Or maybe listening to the duelling orchestras in Venice?"

Kelly

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Touring Italy was one of my most anticipated goals, and so my expectations were high....but I was not disappointed! The 17 Day Best of Italy tour was perfect to meet my needs. It allowed me to see 8 uniquely different and diverse destinations, to enjoy WONDERFUL food, to see so much history and architecture, as well as cultural differences. I wouldn't have wanted to cut out a single destination. Even though I expect to do more traveling, I believe this will always be my favorite trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were MANY moments where I was amazed with how mid evil towns were so intact, and how extremely delicious the food consistently was (by using the Rick Steve's book or ferdi's recommendations). But for me the moment that that took my breath away the most was when we hiked the mountain trail in the area of the Dolomites. Truly god's country!! I hope to encourage my adult son to go there and to take the same hike, because it is so incredible."

David

Springboro, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely wonderful, everything was great from the scenery, food, wine, accommodations, and the people both with the tour and in Italy. Our guide was knowledgable on so many facets of each place we stopped and the other folks on the tour were so warm and friendly. It was a pleasure to share time with all of them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name, each city was so unique and had their own special qualities"

Paul

Dallas, TX

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never taken an organized tour before and were fairly apprehensive about it. We were delighted with how it went. I believe the frequent and abundant free time to explore on our own, which is how we have traveled before made a huge difference. Also, I believe the orientation you give to tour members weeds out demanding, complaining individuals. Thus the tour members were delightful to get to know, easy to relate to and overall it was a very positive experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had long known that Italians in the Sud Tyrol spoke German, but I hadn't known how fundamentally Germanic they are culturally. Since I had lived in Germany 40 years ago, this was a delightful discovery."

Gretchen

Wakefield, RI

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best of the three RS tours we have taken. I'm not sure that Ferdi was sure that this bunch of individuals would "gel" into a group, but we passed the acid test in Rome without losing anyone. We could have used another day in each city. Bottom line is that Italy is not Ireland or anywhere else, so how can one compare?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dolomites were a surprise and delight. I enjoyed visiting San Gimignano (wished for a little more time there) and Orvieto too."

Barbara

Dallas, TX

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the perfect balance between group time and time to be alone and do your own thing. It was very organized without being constraining. There was a wonderful mix of city and country experiences. Our tour guide was fun and knowledgeable. Ferdie was able to give us the history of an area, show us the the important sites as well as give us the information we needed for us to explore on our own. I thought the other tour guides were wonderfully. My absolute favorite was the Ufizi guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The realization that Italy is a living museum. Everything from the buildings, streets, museums, churches, country side, markets and even the shop windows is a feast for the eyes."

Rebecca

Springboro, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed my tour immensley!! The tour exceeded my expectations. We received a sampling of all the cities on the tour, experienced the culture, ate wonderful food, and met a lot of great people. The tour bus was very comfortable with plenty of room and the WiFi was an extra bonus. I would definitely recommend this tour and plan on going on another someday!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every momment was a "wow" for me! From seeing all the sights in person....to the food.....to learning about the culture....to celebrating our 30th anniversary on our last day in Rome!"

Allan

Malibu, CA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A wonderful experience, exceeded our expectations. We saw so much of the Italy's beautiful nature, the cultural heritage and its friendly people, topped with great food, wine and plenty of Gelato! The tour was highlighted with a very knowledgeable, helpful tour guide, Trina, and the bus pilot, Adriano, plus our wonderful tour teammates; we wish they were our neighbors. In our opinion, the tour could easily extend to 21-24 days, it was plenty to see and too much to absorb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lake Como, I love to move there! Maybe George C. has a room to spare; this comes from a Malibu guy! The incredible stay at the agriturismo (Poggio della Volara), Marco and Gaia and their dog Vella were great hosts in this gorgeous setting. The delicious food, wonderful wine, dance, music, Perfetto!! Poggio della Volara should be a regular stay on the Italy tours!". Other unforgettable highlights were, hiking in the Dolomites, Cinque Terra, etc....."

Denise

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was my first tour ever. My expectations were exceeded many times. I enjoyed my guide, my group, the country, and all the wonderful cultural experiences. I learned so much about Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmmm....Michelangelos's David....Botticelli's paintings.....wine tasting & dancing at the beautiful Agristurismo "Poggio della Volara"."

Alistair

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic. Great itinerary, something different everyday. Lots of pleasant surprises. Fun group to travel with. Kudos to Adrian the driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Dolomites. Walking the walls of Lucca. Walking the Cinque Terra. Lots of walking on this tour."

Laurie

Powell, OH

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Such indescribable beauty! Every day was an adventure! This is our third Rick Steves tour and we were AGAIN very pleased with this 'no hassle" tour. The hotels were very clean and had that "family personal touch". The tour is the epitome of organization and is indeed a "well oiled machine". There was no stop on the tour that I would have wanted excluded. The tour guide, bus driver and all hotel and restaurant personnel were very friendly, polite and professional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although this is a difficult question to answer, I loved the beauty of Cinque Terre and the Dolomites. The views at each of these were breathtaking--hiking in the meadows of the dolomites and wandering through the small villages."

Sharon

Rogers, MN

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved every moment, except the train cancelations at the Milan Central Station and the pouring rain while walking up to our first hotel in Varenna. Could suggest that transportation be provided if looks like rain. Those of us caught in the rain, all the contents of our luggage were soaked.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two many to suggestion just one. Would like to say that our experience at the wine vineyard l'Agriturismo Poggio Della Volara was amazing. The rooms, the meals and the owners were so gracious and hospitable."

Patricia

Morgan Hill, CA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great introduction to Italy--every location was unique, and our introductions (walking tours) allowed me to find my way around independently when the opportunity arose. Now I want to go back and spend more time in Italy's villages/hill towns and in Rome. Loved our tour members and feel as if they are part of my extended family. Our guide was amazing--positive energy, knowledgeable, and articulate. The individual guides were also exceptional. Even our bus driver was an integral part.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cinque Terra, our agriturismo,and Rome."

Bela

Calgary, AB

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the variety of places, a nice balance to give a super picture of Italy and it's sights and people. Tour guide, Trina, was a super guide - knew her stuff!! She was very patient and kind with all the group, no matter what was asked of her. Adrian, our bus driver, was a real asset to the group. Small group numbers and two day stays were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The agriturismo (Poggio della Volara) was a favorite place! The owners put on a wonderful two-day experience for the group - they should be a regular stop on future tours!"

Gizella

Calgary, AB

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour was a perfect way to get to know Italy! Each area in Europe is so unique, and this tour addressed that uniqueness - nice balance of smaller and larger centers. The two best features of this tour was the small number of people, and the fact that there was two nights in each location - a perfect balance of guided sights and personal time. Our tour guide (Trina) was a veritable fountain of knowledge, and had such a personable manner with the group. Bus driver (Adrian) was awesome too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cannot isolate one experience. Each place, each activity was yet another lovely surprise."

Shelley

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We decided to do a pre-tour to Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, and Milan on our own. We also stayed an extra day in Rome. We had a great time on our 17 day tour and I loved having most things already planned out for us with knowledgeable guides. We had a wonderful and happy group of people and we all got along great! We were sad to leave! Our favorite places on the tour were the smaller towns like Varenna, Castelrotto, Lucca, Assisi, and Orvieto! I loved Sienna and Florence too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I first looked out my window at Lake Como after being drenched on the walk to our hotel; the gondola ride and being serenaded until a downpour; the first time I saw Assisi; and the Agriturismo we stayed at near Orvieto we LOVED!"

Loydene

Eagar, AZ

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour! Saw and learned so much about Ancient and modern day Italy. Loved Lake Como and the beautiful views from our hotel. Also really enjoyed the Dolomites. As we took an evening walk around Castelrotto we were charmed by the cozy lights lovingly placed on the ornate graves by the local families. Loved staying at the agritourismo where we were treated so warmly and had great family style home cooking on the hillside with a beautiful view....and a swimming pool too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved experiencing ancient history, art and culture. Loved seeing the exquisite statue of "David" and the amazing art in Florence."

Erika

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! There were so many parts that would have been challenging to do on my own, if not impossible- the ore lock demonstration, the stained glass demonstration, eating in the neighborhood banquet hall in Siena, etc. I was debating traveling on my own, but those were some of the moments that made the group experience far better than it would have been on my own. Easy access to the Vatican and St. Peters was also special. Group dinners were delicious and so much social fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wine tasting at the agriturismo (Poggio della Volara) was incredible. The delicious food, wonderful wine, the gorgeous setting, our wonderful group, the cheerful hosts...that was perfect. I loved the gondola ride in Venice, the amazing artwork in Florence and Rome, and the Roman ruins, but I also loved Lake Como and our relaxing time there. No one favorite moment- so many!"

Larry

DePere, WI

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WOW, one the greatest times of my life. We had such good people & made a lot of great friends

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every place we went had something to WOW about, Cinque terre-for the views & hiking. Lago di Como-for the relaxation. All the churches! The working farm was unbelievable. Liked it all"

Lisa

Depere, WI

Tour: 06/13/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was more fantastic than I anticipated, loved Trina our guide. The views were great. Liked the energy of the group & also the down time. The food & especially the Italian people where incredible. When we were together as a group the tours were very interesting but loved exploring on our own also. What a wonderful country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dolomites view was awesome & what's not to love about Venice? My truly Wow moment the country side of Sienna, the hill towns were so beautiful."

Martha

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic! Highly recommend!

Dean

Crestwood, MO

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding trip! I could not be happier!

Glen

Norfolk, VA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time with my wife on the tour. We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary in Italy that more than met our expectations. We saw all of the sights we wanted to see and others. We feel that we gained a greater appreciation of Italy through participation in the tour and the presentations given by Rainer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was Lake Como. I could have stayed a few more days! I also had a wow moment when I saw the coliseum up close and personal. I tried to understand what this massive structure meant to the people living two thousand years ago."

Joyce

Crestwood, MO

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than I could have imagined. Our guide Rainer was entertaining while being informative about the places and things we were seeing, the culture, the language, etc. The bus was comfortable and our driver was considerate, pleasant and funny. I can't think of one aspect of the tour that I didn't like.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to narrow it down to just one. I had so many wow moments on the tour."

Elizabeth

Norfolk, VA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was fabulous! We saw all of the important sites in Italy, & enjoyed some not so famous sites, which is the Rick Steve's way. Our tour guide, Reiner, was very knowledgeable, interesting, & funny. He constantly reminded us to HYDRATE! which I, as a nurse, appreciated. He was approachable without playing favorites. Sauro, our bus driver, was very skilled, & a joy to travel with. We liked our city tour guides, although some were easier to understand than others. Our hotels were comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest WOW was when I stepped into the Vatican church. It was enormous & breathtaking! Boy, did I feel small all the churches we saw along the way got bigger & bigger until the final Vatican church! Other WOWs were Lake Como for its beauty, Venice for its quaint history, &, of course, Rome."

David

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mix of structured time and free time. The structured time was very helpful to experience very busy sites such as the Vatican in Rome, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. There was no waiting in long lines, enabling us to see more sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a tough question, there were quite a few. How about a list? * Hiking the Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza trail in Cinque Terre. * Hiking in the Alpe di Siusi in the Dolomites. * St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. * Walking around Florence at night - great vibe! * Walking around Venice in the evening during a thunderstorm."

David

Warner Robins, GA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start (Summer 2013) to finish (June 2014), it has been an absolutely wonderful experience. The planning and preparation stage set the foundation for a successful and highly enjoyable tour. We were thoroughly prepared because of your literature. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful towns of the Cinque Terre."

Vicki

Mukilteo, WA

Tour: 05/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being our second Rick Steves trip, it was also everything I hoped for. Our group of travelers were a lot of fun, food was excellent, tour guide was especially a lot of fun and very informative and the weather was perfect. Got a little hot in Rome though. I enjoy the pace of the Rick Steves tours with excellent local tour guides and lots of free time. I feel that the dynamics of a tour group sets the tone for the trip. With that said, we had a great bunch of people and a great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose as everywhere we went was fun to experience. Will say that the time that we spent in the Alpe de Siusi was wonderful. The views were spectacular!!! Did a lot of hiking while we were there. Also, the hotel was fantastic with EXCELLENT food. Did miss all the cows with bells on the hillsides. We were a week too early. Bummer."

Laura

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the diversity of large cities and smaller towns for a true Italian feel, the variety of pace. Greatly enjoyed the quiet refreshment at the agriturismo outside of Orvieto.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Riding bicycles on top of the Medieval city wall of Lucca! It was so FUN!! The Pieta in the Duomo in Orvieto was amazing! The expressions of grief captured in marble were captivating!"

Marla

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I like the ease of travel and the camaraderie of the group. Most of all, I think it is a meaningful way to explore so many different cities and sites in a short time, getting education and insight about each town's history, culture, and current events. It helps me as a traveler to stay conscious of where I am and what makes a place unique and special. It also helps me decide the places I want to return to and get to know better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Expected answers might be seeing the Coliseum, the Pantheon, or Pisa. These were all "wow" moments for sure, but a very special "wow" for me was the pesto-making demonstration and fabulous meal in Monterosso. I felt like a family guest watching my Grandmother share a secret recipe."

Myles

Stoneham, MA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In a word, wonderful. Our tour guide, Robin, was outstanding. She was very knowledgeable, great planner, had great suggestions. The locales were great. Enjoyed the local guides, visiting the sites, and the free time. Follow tour members were also very good. Bus driver was also very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have a single wow moment from the tour!! There were wow moments for each location."

Teressa

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the trip of a lifetime for us! We saw so muck of Italy, learned about the history and culture and so many back stories about the paintings, art, and the artists in general. The people in the were very friendly and were expecting us when we arrived, all spoke some English to help us along. The food was wonderful, we enjoyed our tour mates and had a most excellent tour bus driver, Martino!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was being there on the Sunday Pentecost Celebration and getting to go the the service and see the rose petals come down from the opening in the Pantheon that signified the Apostles receipt of the Holy Spirit! It was a beautiful service. I also enjoyed the Gondola ride in the evening, it was a great experience!"

Tom

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never been to Italy, and, hearing great things about Rick Steve's tours, I had set high expectations for this tour. I have to say, this tour exceeding my expectations. Our tour leader, Robin, did a great job in taking a group of strangers and quickly making us comfortable with each other. The knowledge passed on to us about where we went and what we saw was amazing. Our local guides were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing David and the Sistine Chapel. until you see these in person, you don't understand the scale and beauty."

Steve

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Robin was an outstanding guide.

Fran

Port Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So great not having to plan anything, especially transportation! Martino was a fantastic driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing "David"' , so beautiful! All the hill towns, especially Orvieto!"

Emily

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 05/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a very busy, but nice tour. It had a great variety of large cities and small towns so it felt like we got a full Italian experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Here's a couple that stand out to me - *Riding around Lucca's medieval walls. Beautiful, enchanting setting. *Listening to Gregorian chants at San Miniato in Florence. There's nothing like hearing beautiful music in the settings for which they were created. *Watching the Roman Forum come to life by the powerful descriptions and stories given by our local guide. *St. Mark's Square in Venice - the real version of Italy in Disney World. Being a Disney freak, I was excited to see that."

Suzin

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was comprehensive. We learned more about each place we toured than we ever could have on our own! Ferdi was a jewel and such fun! His knowledge was vast. I could ask him anything and he had a cohesive answer that helped me understand even more than I asked! Our tour mates were great. I feel as though we made some long-term friendships! The hotel choices were hit or miss. We had some really nice rooms and some not so nice ones, but overall we had a trip we will remember forever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd been wanting to see the Ice Man ever since reading about his discovery in 1991. I was sure I'd never see him until this tour! That was spectacular for me personally! Also, I was blown away by Verona with its medieval city tucked into its bustling modern city. It was like a movie set! Oh heck! I loved it all!"

Bert

Sunnyvale, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A terrific overall experience. The tour was well run and efficient. We were also fortunte to have shared the experience with a wonderful group of fellow travelers on the tour - no "bad apples" or cronic complainers to sully the enjoyment and comaraderie of the group. We started as strangers but ended as a family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many of these, but it was a great personal thrill for me to come up the mountain road and see our first view of the spectacular Dolomites. This experience was further enhanced the following day on an extensive hike around the area that included hearing the call of cuckoos in the wild and startling a group of 3 of the very rare and seldom seen chamois deer - amazing!"

Robert

Gas City, IN

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first visit to Europe and I totally enjoyed my time in Italy. The tour was well organized and the guide was outstanding. The group we traveled with was unique and we all formed a strong friendship. We were all looking out for each other as we walked the streets and narrow roads of many of the places we visited. Our hotels were great and enjoyed staying off the highly traveled areas. All of our hotel personnel were friendly and helpful. Great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Dolomite area. It was so beautiful. Of course, the sights of Rome were great to see. The Vatican City area was very interesting and beautiful. Even though I am not of the Catholic faith, I enjoyed staying over extra days and attending the service at the Vatican on Wednesday, June4th. What an experience to be part of such a huge crowd and event."

Charles

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Steve's tour Both have been great value l tell others I saw twice as much for less money than if I had done an independent trip.plus I saved the planning time.t We have 24 new friends who were great to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sienna tour explaining the horse race and the meal prepared by the local church g group was unique. The local guides are an outstanding part of the trip."

Gary

Tustin, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour exceeded my expectations. Our guide, Ferdi, the hotels (with the exception of the bedding comfort at some locations), our fellow tour mates, the bus transportation, the local guides, and the food were all exceptional. The pace of the tour, two days at each location, was perfect for a tour that visits so many destinations. My wife and I were so pleased that we chose the Rick Steves tour to see Italy for the first time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but probably the most noteworthy was the artwork and craftsmanship in the churches. I was always wowed when I walked into a church and saw such beauty. All of the hours spent by skilled craftsmen/artisans was almost incomprehensible."

Toni

Covington, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved, loved the tour. The whole organization of it was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every moment was a "wow". Getting into San Marco in Venice at 11:30 the hour when they have the flood lights on."

Madeline

Gas City, IN

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour guide; excellent bus driver; cohesive group; wonderful experience!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, but I will narrow it down. On our own, we viewed 'The Last Supper' in Milan and also took the Bernina Rail from Tirano to St. Moritz. AMAZING!!!! I enjoyed seeing the Leaning Tower and visiting eclectic Sienna."

Sam

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steves tour, the second "Best of" tour. This was the best tour of all of them. Our tour leader, Ferdi, made this an especially memorable tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sienna, was memorable, but a "wow" moment would be opening the shutters to our hotel in the Cinque Terre and seeing the Mediterranean right outside. This was the same feeling when we stayed outside Orvieto, as well."

Krysteena

Covington, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent experience. It was more than I could ask for. Ferdi (and RS) thought of everything. The little details are what make a huge difference. (knowing when people will need to use the restroom on the tour bus days to getting us in to the church when the lights are shining on the gold mosaics during that one hour window).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Other friends have asked this also and I have thought about it quite a bit. Everything seemed like a "Wow" moment! The whole tour was amazing. Everything we saw was amazing and it felt surreal the whole time I was there. I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have the perfect guide, the perfect weather and the perfect tour members. Some of my most memorable highlights are: Ferdi and Dino Food(especially the food Ferdi recommended) David, The birth of Venus Borghese Gallery All the sights"

Elisebeth

Tustin, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations in every way! I appreciated the small size of the group, modern coach, tour manager and itinerary. It really showcased how diverse Italy is and all that the different regions have to offer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Florence and the renaissance period really came to life."

David

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour & it will not be our last! We loved the small group, downtown hotel, pack light experience & our guide "Ferdi" was exceptional... His love for & knowledge of Italian history was top notch and he had the ability to communicate a good sense of "Italian Life" to us all. The choices of cities & sites on this 17 day tour were perfect for us first time Italian travelers. We gained a well rounded sense of the beautiful variety of Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of our friends have asked us what our favorite experience was & we find it impossible to answer... There were so many wonderful moments throughout the trip that to pick just one would not convey the value of the overall experience. How do you choose between the beautiful Lake country, awesome mountain views of the Italian alps, the sites along the coastal Cinque Terra, the views walking around the hill villages in Umbria & Tuscany, and the impact of Venice, Florence & Rome?"

Cynthia

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a great experience on the tour.It was well-organized and planned, in terms of alternating between the cities and places to relax(smaller towns);and in terms of providing a variety of tours, activities, meals. The persons on the tour were harmonious and team players. For the time in Florence, the timing was a little off..it was very crowded due to the Kardashian wedding, and our free afternoon/evening fell on a Sunday when many things were not open.(See Florence hotel, below). Great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot decide between three: 1. The evening in Venice with an excellent dinner, gelato, then evening gondola ride, or 2. Being invited into a Contrada in Sienna to visit their museum, church and to be served dinner by them, or 3. My room at the Altarocca Wine Resort (Gelsomino), which had an expansive terrace with 270 degree views."

John

Canby, OR

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

i truly loved this tour. Even though I have never been on a tour of this kind or a cruise I knew what I did not want. This trip my every expectation and more. The tour was strenuous, lots of walking and standing. It truly tested my two new hips and knees. By day three I was able to walk four miles up hill and four miles down hill at 5000 feet. My wife and I were able to pick and choose what walking we wanted to do. We chose to participate on most walks. There were 24 people, that's ideal

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many it is difficult to pick one. My wife loves churches. I tend to tire of them quickly. Not on this trip. They kept getting better. I found something uniquely beautiful in each (30). St. Marks was the "wow" ending was Laterano."

Steven

Windsor, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

destinations were all wonderful. the food was excellent everywhere. interesting side trips ( to see the Ice Man)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Venice, eating dinner by a canal when a male opera singer, who was a big ham. floated by singing to his audience up and down the canal. It was a great moment and he got a standing ovation from everyone along the canal."

Debbie

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Experience was amazingly awesome! Looking back over pictures, how did we fit everything in? The variety of locations - Lake Como, mountains, canals, the Italian Riviera, a wine resort and cites big and small was truly a wonderful mix.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Michelangelo's David"

David

Renton, WA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the entire tour. Group was fun, locations were great and experience was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to call any one a favorite. Para-gliding in the Dolomites was one of my favorites."

Roberta

Cottonwood, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was way beyond our expectations. We were hesitant to be "locked" into a time schedule, a bus and the needs of others. None of this was true on our tour. The group was small enough so that we got to know each other quickly. Everyone was timely, pleasant and fun to be with. The other surprise was the wonderful guides, our full time guide and the local guide in each city. They gave us information that we would never find in a tour book. The whole experience was amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was a WOW moment."

Robert

Cottonwood, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire tirp far out exceeded my expectations. The group we were with were lots of fun, everyone was always on time if not a little early. The organizational skills of our guide was exceptional. The meals were better then I expected and the hotels were better then I thought they would be, some were quaint but that added to the experience. The used the quite book with knowledge and showed us what a useful tool it could be. The local quides were all outstanding with the extra history given.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was my WOW moment. There are parts of each day where I when I would say WOW."

Joan

Windsor, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was just as you said, lots of Italian life and history at a fast clip. We were surprised at how much walking was needed since all tours state agility is important, but again just as advertised. We opted out of some of the activities to rest up and feel this tour was too much for us. Recommend an evening Sistine Chapel tour, even early this was a grueling task elbow to elbow with thousands. We saw an Italy unknown to me and lovely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"David, in Florence, one of those once in a lifetime events. Close runner up was the beauty and language of the Dolomites. Loved seeing Otzi, he and Lake Como are the reasons we chose your tour since many tours see David."

Lawrence

Camano Is, WA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

At 73 yrs of age ,I did find the large number of large cities on this tour more challenging or is it the 73 yrs catching up with me? I will continue to give you free advertising for all 6 of your trips I have taken ! GREAT JOB!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As I was sitting in the San Brizio Chapel in Orvieto the media message differences between 13/14th century and our current 21st century overwhelmed me! Those old masters had it all figured out !!"

Randy

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Beauty of the mountains in the Dolomites"

Rhonda

Austin, TX

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was beyond grand, so well planned and orchestrated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ah, Venice, on the Grand Canal, in the gondola with the singer and the accordion under the stars!"

Marjorie

Canby, OR

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First trip to Europe, first ever tour. Fabulous! Loved the variety of busy cities and laid back places. Had little background in medieval times but now my interest is piqued and I'm questing more knowledge! Not a Catholic but couldn't see enough churches. Enjoyed group experience and guide was terrific in building "family". So much beautiful art, delicious food, lovely Italian people, interesting history...can't believe I really experienced all of that! I'd recommend a RS tour to anyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Mark's in Venice took my breath away! At first I thought it was because it was the first really old thing I saw but at the end of the trip I can't think of anything more beautiful, opulent, and colorful. The statue of David was a close second, however. Before the trip I thought "wow" moments would be in Rome but St. Mark's and David really grabbed me emotionally."

David

Cottonwood, CA

Tour: 05/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

it was our fist tour of this type and first trip to europe. it exceeded our expectations. i will recommend your service.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"this is hard to answer because everything was wonderful, but the dolomites and the gondola ride with music and singer at night were among the top."

Dennis

Alamo, CA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Glad I choose to do this,rather than on my own.You folks are very organized,well educated simply made the trip quite enjoyable

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Umbria's beauty"

Heather

Castle Rock, CO

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour group experience, I was a little nervous to spend so much time with people I didn't know. However, I had read many of the reviews of the tours offered and all were so positive. I now know why, this was a great experience! Everything was wonderful, the food, the accommodations, the tour guide (Trina), the people, I loved it all! I will be doing another Rick Steves' tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How could I ever pick, every small town or large city had it's own "WOW" thing special to it. I enjoyed all the different things each place had to offer, I'm in love with Italy now!"

Barbara

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We appreciated the well-thught-out itinerary and the fact that we efficiently saw way more than we could have seen on our own. We loved missing the long lines. All the hotels were comfortable and centraly located. Trina was very knowledgeable and very kind. She looked out for all her travelers!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was a "wow" moment."

Candace

Castle Rock, CO

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

When my duaghter first suggested this tour, I thought it was a bit expensive...I'm used to buying a ticket and traveling "non-tour." By the end of this tour I will have to admit I felt it was a BARGAIN. All the places we visited, the information/history shared, the comfort of someone else making all the travel/hotel/site plans, while still allowing us time on our own was absolutely fabulous. Our tour guide, Trina, was the best. She was knowledgable, courteous, helpful, kind, watchful,and a joy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Personally, I loved Cinque Terre, but I love the coast and the water. It was a beautiful area and we got a chance to relax. Although, I will add that Rome was unbelievable, the Colosseum, the Forum, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Wow!"

Karen

Whistler, BC

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As this was my 2nd Rick Steves tour my expectations were high, and I wasn't disappointed! The tour was a nice mix/balance of small towns and large historic Italian cities. The "rural" breaks experienced in Lake Como, the Dolomites, Cinque Terre and Orvieto were greatly enjoyed, as were the extraordinary settings of these stops. I was again lucky enough to be travelling with a wonderful group of people - your tours attract the best! The amount of non-scheduled/free time also a bonus!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As the entire tour was one big "wow" moment it's hard to narrow it down to just one, so I won't. The bus ride up to our hotel in the Dolomites was breathtaking. Cinque Terre, especially the cliff-side walk from Monterosso to Vernazza, was unforgettable. The optional, music-accompanied, evening gondola ride in Venice was a wonderful surprise and perfect beginning to our time in Venice. Michelangelo's David and the Sistine Chapel!"

Terry

Lake Winnebago, MO

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was excellent. We learned so much a the country, culture, and people. The educational aspect was great and we saw so much in a very short period of time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moment was in the cinque terre villages. The view of the sea and the mountains were amazing and the pesto demonstattion and dinner that evening will not be forgotten."

Dave

Milton, GA

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome!! Trina is very talented and was perfect. Two nights in each place was great combined with the free time. The food, the people, the art, the churches, the towns were all a cultural feast. We loved Italy and the trip. We will be back to another tour with you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Vernazza from the hill; Varenna from the lake; David, Pieta, Borghese; Uffizi; Duomo in Florence; Colosseum; Fountain of the Four Rivers; St. Mark's inside and out; Elisabeta in Venice; Vatican museum ceilings; lunch on a piazza. Wow."

Louis

Lemont, IL

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was perfect. The trip was exactly what we had expected. Great group events but also just the right amount of "free" time to enjoy our own interests. Trina did a great job with orientation of each location giving us the confidence to go out on our own. Considering outside of the U.S. we have only been to Canada this says a lot. She was very personable and really made an effort to maximize the tour for each individual no matter what their interests and limitations were. She is very knowledgeab

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick.High on the list are the artisans. The woodworker in Venice that made gondola yokes and the stained glass maker in Siena out just one. certainly high on the list are the Artians."

Richard

West Simsbury, CT

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a long and more rigorous tour than the other two that I have been on (Spain and Ireland) but I understand the need for the scheduling in order to see the many special attractions. Trina did an outstanding job. She is organized, responsive, approachable, funny, a good historian, and overall excellent guide. All of the local guides were excellent. All of the connections, transportation, and acomodations went smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several: The Gondola ride in Venice, arranged by Trina, on a balmy evening. We were clustered in several boats on the Grand Canal, listening to guitarist and a singer in one of the gondolas. The Ufizzi Gallery tour with the wonderful local guide Ricardo. Hiking in the Cinque Terre Riding bicycles along the city wall in Lucca. Sienna and Orvieto, two unexpected gems."

Margaret

West Simsbury, CT

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour and found Italy even more beautiful than I expected. We had a very congenial group and had a lot of laughs. I found this tour to be more physically challenging than the two previous RS tours I'd been on (Spain & Morocco, Ireland) because of all the walking (up and down streets and steps) and standing on marble floors in churches, museums, etc. We also had more early morning departures because of the need to get into the major museums before the crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The evening gondola ride in Venice with the other tour members was awesome. It was a perfect summer night, warm and still, and Trina had hired musicians (guitar and soloist) to entertain us. The best moment was when we were all in the Grand Canal together with the night sky, music, laughter and the lights of the palazzos reflected in the water. Magic!"

Nancy

Lemont, IL

Tour: 05/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being my first experience with a group tour I was extremely happy with the whole trip. You will be top on my list for my next excursion to Europe.

Kathleen

Gahanna, OH

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the level of activity in all locations as well as the free time to go off and explore on our own. The audio headsets were a must and should be used in more locations. Entirely too much background noise in the large tourist locations. Having the local guide with a mic and us without headsets wasn't all that good. Too many people in the group to get close enough to hear. Rainer was professional, funny and ran a tight ship. He kept us on schedule!! Enjoyed the Italian lessons from Sarah

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult question for me to answer. Every city or location had a "wow" moment. The Dolomites, seeing the statue of David, eating lunch high above the city of Florence in a small cafe where we were the only guests, Cinque Terre, Venice, The Iceman, Lucca, Sienna, Assisi, Tuscany B & B, Rome in all it's glory..............My most emotional moment was touring St Francis of Assisi's humble chapel and his burial site. His courage and devotion to man and animal brought me to tears."

Patricia

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it was all nice but I think Lake Como and the Cinque Terre were my favorite spots."

Thomas

Westerville, OH

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the trip very much. I've done eight small group tours with Overseas Adventure Travel, and this tour rates right up with them. The pace was fast but not too much so, and I enjoyed the amount of free time we were afforded. The rooms were mostly nice, though I missed having in-room coffee service at most of them - will definitely take an immersion water heater and instant coffee if I do another trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That would be first seeing the Schlern mountain outside out lodge in the Dolomites. We arrived late in a rainy evening and could see none of the surroundings. The next morning dawned clear and bright, and the sight of the mountain next to our lodge was truly breathtaking."

Van

Dunwoody, GA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guides, wonderful bus driver-an often overlooked but vital team member-great itinerary visiting some of the most beautiful art in a magical country. Weather was great probably because Rick Steves was crisscrossing Europe at the same time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola cruise was wonderful. It fulfilled a 12 year old gift from our daughter who gave us a gondola ride for our 25th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, it rained unmercifully 12 years ago and we promised ourselves and her that we would enjoy that special gift and we did on this trip"

Roger

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mixture of touring structure and independence to see Italy the way we wanted to. Rainer and Sarah were fantastic. Rainer was a wealth of history, perspective and pearls on every town we went to. Sarah introduced on conversation Italian to us on the bus and this helped get excited about learning Italian for the south Italy tour. The Hotel transfer and check-in was very smooth and not something I would have wanted to try and arrange myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one... no way! The first breath-taking view from the patio in Varenna, the hike in the sun kissed Dolomites, the singing Gondola ride in Venice, the hikes on the the Cinqua Terre, the friendly vibe from Assisi (I could really live there!) The Pantheon in Rome....I am still in awe of this 2000 year old structure...I could go on"

Sally

Dartmouth, MA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a super trip and a great introduction to Italy and all its charms. What is not to love about the art and food and beauty of the countryside? Sauro was a terrific, capable bus driver and so sweet. As an older, single woman I felt very comfortable doing this tour with Rainer and Sarah. It was a good mix of touring together and free time to explore on one's own. Both Rainer and Sarah were very inclusive in offering optional events.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. Hotel Pasquale pesto dish and room with a water view in Cinque Terre! I especially enjoyed the visit to the Venetian forkula woodworker's workshop and the stained glass artist Massimo in Siena. The wine tasting on the hilltop at Agriturismo Poggio della Volara was special. The evening gondola ride (even as a single) with music was a highlight."

Brian

Brisbane, QLD

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For a first-time visitor to Italy the tour was a memorable experience from start to finish, well organized, great tour guides and local guides, a very compatible tour group and perfect weather throughout which added greatly to the enjoyment. Having two days in each location gave us the opportunity to both participate fully in the organized tour activities and also explore other parts of the towns and villages on our own in the extensive free time available which was much appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many highlights and wonderful scenery from the shores of Lake Como in Varenna to the ancient wonders of Rome that it is hard to pick a favourite. But probably seeing the stunning frescoes in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral was my "wow" moment, the detail of the pictures and vividness of the colours when you walk in just blows you away."

Marlene

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour with a great mix of big cities and small towns. Really enjoyed Lake Como and the Cinque terre. Thought the local guides were knowledgeable and fun. We had a great group of people to tour with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the Pesto demonstration and the meal in the cinque terre. Wine tasting in Umbria at the agriturismo was a close second."

Norm

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 05/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the wine tasting in the olive grove at the agritourismo in Umbria where we spent two nights. The views were spectacular, especially of the hill towns in the distance and the sunset. With the wine and table of anti pasti, it felt like we were in a photo shoot for a magazine such as "Food and Wine.""

Vicki

Thornton, CO

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the variety of what we did. Lots of wonderful history mixed with beautiful scenery and times to relax. I've been asked what was my favorite moment and I'm having a hard time answering that. I loved it all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My first favorite wow moment was the village at Castelrotto. The bell tower was so huge and right outside of our hotel. We loved the German influence there and the views from our walk we're stunning! There were WOW moments at every stop we made along our tour. We loved all of the history and actually being in Italy to see these wonderful places was a feeling so hard to explain. Smiles.....lots of smiles everywhere we went!"

Elizabeth

Mount Laurel, NJ

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Tour, I have been to Europe several times but have always done my own plans. I found the tour gave more info & background history of each place we visited especially being in Italy. I feel I would not have had such an in depth experience had I planned it myself. The tour saves time & includes much more than on one's own. The group was fun loving & interested in everything that was planned. I definitely recommend this tour as the group size was just perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment is really hard to decide. Italy is just so beautiful. I loved visiting the cities but found my favorite to be the countryside. Although you cannot go to Italy without experiencing the Art, Architecture & History of the country. Venice was so different I guess I would have to say it was visiting there that left such an impression. A city on water just unbelievable!!!"

Marcia

Albany, CA

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first European trip! The tour was just the right mix of group and free time, with adequate coaching for the important sights to see on our own. The 27 person group was terrific, plenty of company, but not so many as to feel lost in the crowd. The bus was comfortable, and travel time broken up nicely with stops along the way. Felt like we saw a great variety of the Italian countryside as well as the cities. The Italian people were the best part. Warm and friendly!

Janelle

Salt Lake City, UT

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The itinerary for this trip was superb. I think we stayed in each place an adequate amount of time. We had a great group of people although the increase to 27 was 4-5 people too many since smaller venues with the group were quite crowded. A little too much free time which required more advanced planning on our part- not enough pre-planning info to indicate that. Tour should have paid for and provided more local guides for some venues, like the Doge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Surprisingly to me it was seeing Venice for the first time in real time... a city that literally sits on water. Also loved the Cinque Terra."

Ronald

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour and participants were both great. The whole tour is very well organized and the agenda for the 17 day tour has both quiet non crowded areas inter spaced with the large busy cities that are a must see. Robin did a great job as our guide and made each person feel welcome and relaxed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most unexpected and "wow" moment for us was the visit to the Ice man museum. We expect to see all the must see places. The exhibit is well worth the stop in that it includes the use of modern scientific investigation techniques to find the secrets if "Otzi". The Dolomite mountain stay, Cinque Terra, and the Orvieto stays were fabulous."

Michael

Thornton, CO

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Over all the experience was great. I was glad the itinerary left Rome for last. The build up to the big congested city was enough to help traverse the the streets.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Wow Moment for me was the being in Italy. Each day was new and fresh, and something I have never done or seen in person before. Yay! For Italian cappuccino."

Jill

Salem, OR

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The only thing that kept my experience from being outstanding was my fault, by not identifying what some of my needs were. I am not a group-type of traveler, I don't need to see famous sites, or see the big cities. I learned that on this trip. My mistake not the tours! That said....I THOUGHT THIS TOUR WAS OUTSTANDING in sooo many ways! The exceptional quality of the guides (tour and local), logistics, tour buses, meals, info given before & during, the NO GRUMP RULE! & so much more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay at the vineyard in Umbria. The vineyard itself, the majestic view, the owners, the wine tasting, and the mind blowing meals! Oh my gosh!!!!!"

Robert

Erie, MI

Tour: 05/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After watching some of Rick Steves videos both on PBS and the web, we decided to sign up for our first tour ever. Major factors were the promise of prearranged hotels, travel during the tour, the best way into tour attractions, enough free time to explore on our own and a limited group size. This organization takes a lot of stress and busy time out of travel. We were really surprised! The tour was everything we had hoped for and more!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow's to list just one!! The main wow is that we were excited and thrilled every single day. Time flew and at the end we were amazed by how much we covered in such a short time."

Rick

Mascoutah, IL

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous! The pace was great, hotel location worked very well for touring the cities and towns, and our guide did a superb job of combining history, politics, economics, geography, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two, between which I cannot distinguish: 1. Walking through our base town and hiking in the CinqueTerre and 2. The scenery and views upon our arrival at the wine resort near Orvieto."

Rebecca

Draper, UT

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous vacation and the group was wonderful. A fun bunch of people. We followed your packing suggestions and it made the trip easy and portable. This was my first time on a land tour by bus. I was a bit concerned the bus rides would be boring, but Sara put in plenty of stops and discusions. I very much liked having a seat to myself. It was quite relaxing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""David" was my wow moment. I was in Florence once before on a cruise and the museum was closed. It was well worth the return."

Phillip

York, ME

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great group of people and a talented leader in Sarah. The sights were marvelous and the combination of group time to time on your own was balanced. I can't say I felt rushed, but if I had it to do over I would have liked an extra day or two in each location. This was especially true with respect to Venice. Overall it was a very smooth and efficient travel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The gondola ride was a wow for me. We were in the boat with the musicians."

Robert

Onalaska, WI

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Sarah was fantastic. She took care of all the details so my wife and I could concentrate on our vacation. Sarah was very knowledgeable and always helpful. Ground rules were laid out on day one. They were reasonable and let all of us know any failure to follow effected all 26 of us. We had a great group that respected everyone else. To those of you considering a Rick Steves tour listen to the advice. Get on your walking shoes and get into shape. Throw step climbing into you

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Did you know gondolas' have transmissions? Also the alta agua in St. Mark's Square. Milan symphony in La Scala Opera House in Milan, string, piano, and percussion performance at a church in Venice, a harp player in a park in Menaggio. Too many to list. WOW!"

Alice

Mascoutah, IL

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time taking a group tour and we really enjoyed it. Having all the preparations of making hotel reservations, museum reservations, transportation, etc. done for you really took the stress out of the trip. It was fun meeting and traveling with the others who became our family. Having a expert guide helped us get more out the the trip, too. Yet, there was still plenty of free time to explore our own[INVALID]using helpful information from our guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One "wow" moment was when we walked into our room at Altarocca Wine Resort near Orvieto. We opened the door to our room and "wow"[INVALID]we were looking at the window over our bed and it was like looking at a painting on the wall, but it was a view of the countryside[INVALID]awesome! The scenery at the Cinque Terre also amazing."

Shawn

Aurora, OR

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

loved the whole thing! group was a very nice assortment of people. i think i will see some of them again. sarah our guide was fabulous, and so enjoyed her knowledge and sense of history and humor. loved the food, and the wine. captured many fabulous photos. wow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"dont have a fav"

Eric

Pleasant Prairie, WI

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the seventeen day tour. Everyday was an adventure. Sarah, who I consider a host, provided a spectrum of information that added context to Italian art, society, politics and history. The local city guides were informative and passionate and sometimes too much so. Our group of 26 Americans grew together under Sarah's leadership. The societal diversity became more apparent after the tour ended and my wife and I continued into Naples, Capri, Sorrento and Spoleto.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I took a morning walk in Florence crossing the Arno river continuing to the Belvedere fortress and back through the Bardini gardens. No crowds, just the expanse of Florence displayed to the north. I also have to mention the dinner we had with the Forest community in Sienna. Simple tasty foods followed by the Il Campo horse racing movie."

Nancy

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour was as advertised and expected. Very strenuous for those of us "of an age" if you followed the rules and handled your own luggage. The plan to spend the first day in each city on guided tours and free time the next day allowed time for independent exploration and I enjoyed that. I would recommend the tour to those physically able to keep up the pace.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several. By far St Peters Basilica. I wish we had more time to explore it. As it was the pope decided to close the basilica for a ceremony and it was only through our guide being on top of things that we even got in. In Florence, the statue of David brought me to tears. The first hill town in Tuscany, San Giaminimo,(spelling) was awesome because it sits up on a hill with nothing else around it and it was small and more intimate. Venice, Cinque Terra......"

Karen

Pleasant Prairie, WI

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an excellent way to experience Italy with a good group of fun people and a knowledgeable guide who had a true love of the land and helped all of her "charges" discover and appreciate Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into the gallery at the Academia and catching the first sight of Michelangelo's David"

Lorraine

Onalaska, WI

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was excellent. Every town we visited, I didn't want to leave. Arriving in the next town, however, somehow seemed even better than the last. I would never have thought to visit some of the places included but found them fascinating. The number of beautiful, stunning churches, museums to overload the senses, amazing scenery, all combined to make this tour outstanding. Having the transportation, accomodations, itinerary all taken care of was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was seeing Michaelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica. I had wanted to see this since reading The Agony and The Ecstasy many years ago. I also had a wow moment when my husband and I stayed an extra day in Rome and I got to see Pope Francis at his noon address that Sunday. There were many wow moments though. Seeing the Duomos in both Milan and Florence took my breath away with their exquisiteness, marveling at the skill of the builders hundreds of years ago."

Philip

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just the right mix of guided elements and free time. Our tour guide, Sarah, is knowledgable, patient and demonstrative - a great mix. The walking pace of some guided tour elements is necessarily slow, so very good walking shoes are a must. Eileen and I were able to immerse ourselves in the local culture and enjoyed interacting with locals - in our best Italian!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Face to face with Michelangelo's "David!!!" It not only appealed to my curiosity about the capability of Michelangelo to create it - but the emotional appeal to me was surprising!!"

Mark

Draper, UT

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. We have traveled to Europe in the past but having the entire trip planned was outstanding...especially not having to drive between cities. We had plenty of time in each city to see the sites as a group and still have plenty of private time to cover our interests. We wondered about travel as a group but it really added to the experience. Our group had a variety of people and personalities but sitting and talking with any of the couples was a pleasant experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several of the hotels and the related vista's were a wow for me; we had great views of the Mediterranean Sea and interesting hotels across the alley in Venice for example. We also met a couple that we bonded with and we have plans to see each other again."

Michael

Little Rock, AR

Tour: 04/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well planned and executed. The tour made very efficient use of our time and we saw many things that we would never have been exposed to otherwise, including the iceman museum in the Dolomites, gondola workshop in Venice, stained glass workshop in Sienna, farms, family organic wineries, hill towns. Transportation would have been a huge problem if we were not associated with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Overlooking the entire city of Rome from the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument, after the up-close and personal tours of major sights throughout the City."

Tim

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Trip overpowered by crowds. Evening trip to Vatican Museum and Cisten Chapel a crowded claustrophobic nightmare. Picked this early spring trip to avoid tourist crowd but landed in perfect storm of Good Friday, Easter, Easter Monday, Pope's being canonized, Italian Independence Day, and May Day. About everyone in Italy had the same two weeks off. Would suggest this isn't a good time for RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Group Gondola ride in Venice and our evening with the Forest People district in Sienna."

Mark

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Donald is a great tour guide. We would go any where with him. We did not think the trip to the Dolomites was worth the time. We liked Bolzano, but those 2 days could have been better spent in Rome, Florence, Siena or the Cinque Terre. You might give thought to starting the tour in Rome because we were all so tired by the time we got to Rome that it was hard to enjoy it. We understand the buddy system is very important and would not have had time to bond.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say, but looking out over the rolling hills and vineyards at the agriturisimo stop might be it."

Bruce

Surprise, AZ

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It seems to me that better planning for the tour on the part of Rick Steve's Europe would have taken into consideration the holidays(Easter, May 1st),canonization of two Popes, and the subsequent increases in crowd volumes at the key points of interest. While I am fully aware the crowds are always a factor, the unusual number of holidays/special events made dealing with the crowds more difficult than usual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to spend my wife's birthday in Venice, including a very special gondola experience that evening."

Linda

Darien, IL

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the tour we always dreamed of taking. We visited so many wonderful places, with illuminating commentaries on all. Our fellow tourists (12 other couples) were great travelling companions, and we made fast friends with all. We learned more about art, culture and history than we ever thought we would.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Venice, all of us opted to take the gondola ride at night. Our guide, Donald, arranged for five gondolas, as well as a musician and singer. It was a magical experience as we floated along the canal. When we reached the Grand Canal, all five of the gondolas floated side-by-side as we were serenaded and sang along. It was a moment we'll never forget!"

Rebecca

Chelan, WA

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

There was several holidays along with canonization of saints. The crowds in Rome were what we thought to be excessive. Maybe look a little closer at calendar when planning tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our stay at Altaroccac Winery Resort. The beautiful setting along with the night of wine tasting provided us with a break to relax."

Stella

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Night gondola ride in Venice."

John

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 04/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

all hotels were uniformly good and well located as bases to explore from during our free time. every group tour, with the exception of the sistine chapel evening tour were great, very informative and well worth seeing. the members of our group seemed to come together as a group of friends very quickly and we enjoyed thier company throughout the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the whole tour was a never ending series of wow moments but if forced to chose the one event that stands out it would be our evening gondola cruise on the grand canal in venice. the cruise was an unscheduled event organized by our tour guide at our expense, and he arranged for us to have a musician (guitar), and singer accompany us. drifting down the grand canal after dark with the music and the city lights reflected on the water is a sight I will always remember."

Jae-Dee

Oakdale, MN

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour with a group so I can't compare it but this trip will be hard to measure up to . My favorite part was all the demonstrations: pesto making, carnival mask making, stain glass demo, olive oil production and tasting, wine tasting (and drinking) and the romantic gondola ride our fantastic guide prearranged for our group with live musicians. There was so much packed into every day but we still had time to savor the quaint towns and sneak in a little shopping.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"During our free time in Venice we took in a rare event. The Leonardo da Vinci drawings were on display at the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see the actual drawing of the Vetruvian man. Thanks for giving us time to be "wowed" without prediction."

Gary

Los Altos Hills, CA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed the tour and I was able to break away on my own just about anytime. The independent time is really important for Europe through the backdoor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The photo opportunities at Lake Como (Villla del Balbianello), the Dolomites, Venice, Florence (Piazzale Michelangelo), Cinque Terre (Vernazza), Siena (Duomo Museum Panorama dal Facciatone), and Rome were just some of the WOWS."

Christopher

Downingtown, PA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was absolutely fantastic. We were wowed off our feet. We thoroughly enjoyed each tour stop and all their sights. Susanna was a wonderful tour guide and our fellow tour mates were friendly and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Firenze and taking in the rich history of the city."

Steve

West Des Moines, IA

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Size of the group was very good and met some people we will probably get together with in the future. It was great having a big and comfortable bus and Deano was fantastic - a good and safe driver and lots of fun to be with. The places we visited were just the things we wanted to see and the length of time at each place was about right except for the day at Ovieto was too long for what there was to see and do. Would have rather gone back and hunted wild boar with Marko. The time at the agrit

Favorite "WOW" moment

"urismo (cont from above) was our favorite place to stay and the food was unbelievable and the scenery great! Probably my biggest WOW was turning the corner and seeing The David. Something you just can't apprec. till you see it."

James

Longmont, CO

Tour: 10/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Europe; we chose Rich's tour based on the advice of friends who said, " it was the only way to see Italy your first time." They were right! Everything was perfect. Well-paced, great guide, wonderful accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food and wine was better than people warned me."

Thomas

Renton, WA

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Based on my previous Rick Steves tour experience, my expectations for this tour were very high. My expectations were met. There were a couple of minor things, if changed, could improve the tour experience. Our guide did an great job adjusting to circumstance out of her control such as a rail strike and snow.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the Lake Como and the Dolomite regions."

Jeff

Virginia Beach, VA

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We started out in a comfortable casual and had snacks and wine. From that point forward, our group grew closer and had an entirely wonderful experience - we quickly became family. We all had our differences, preferences and still were able to enjoy all the different events and appreciate the wonder and beauty of Italy together. We especially enjoyed the fact we had time to explore and were given lots of good suggestions for places to see, eat and drink. We ate local foods and wines.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St Marks Basilica was the first time I was overwhelmed by emotion by the intensity and amount of beauty. As a Catholic, I always enjoyed the art, statues and beauty in our US churches. They cannot compare - and the history behind of this art took my breath away."

Barbara

Oakland, CA

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trina was fantastic and really made the history, architecture, art and importance of Italy come alive to someone who previously "slept through the art & history of Europe." I really enjoyed the historical overviews from Trina on the bus on the way to the sights we'd be seeing that day. Really helped me understand the timeline, key people and events associated with the area we'd be seeing that day. Also loved the other tips she'd give: how to order hot tea at an Autogrill, find a toilet, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment for me was when our guide, Trina, explained why the "Dark Ages" happened. She shared this knowledge on one of our history talks on our bus somewhere between Florence and Pisa. I never understood how there could be all this magnificent Greek and Roman architecture, art & accomplishment and then Europe suddenly plunged seemingly backwards into illiteracy, superstition, feudalism & poverty. Understanding how this came to be was so helpful to appreciating all I saw in Italy."

J R

Centerville, UT

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steve's Tour was all that we had been told they were. Very well organized, very well prepared. Professionals all the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many 'wow' moments to name just one."

Dominic

West Haven, CT

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best Journey/Vacation I have had. Trina our Tour Guide, was a Joy to be with and who breathed in to our hearts and souls the richness of every area we visited. Her Descriptions painted a Portrait of the wonders of these Cultures, its People past and present. On a personal note, Trina was my Florence Nightengale when in Venice. I tripped and twisted my right Ankle severly. She assisted and with Ice and elevation of this leg I was able to enjoy this thrilling vacatiion fully. Fantastic Trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many Wow moments, seriously, this Connecticut Yankee, who's Heritage is Italian was transported back Centuries to walk in the ruins of places Historical in everyway, shape or form. Itlay is one Beautiful Country, and going there at this time in my Life, has brought such Joy and Love to so many other aspects of my Life. When asked how my Trip was, my whole Face Lights Up and you can't shut Me UP. Will Return hopefully soon to pick up where this ended and visit Southern Italy."

David

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 10/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never traveled "across the pond" before. It seems like I started with the "Rick Steves Super Bowl" of tours. It was truly and outstanding experience. The sequence of where we visited was terrific. The arrangement of meals and activities in each of the places visited was very well planned. There was a wonderful mix of tour time vs. "free time".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's like asking me my favorite song, depends on day and mood. There were so many wow moments - Basilica of San Marco, David, the Pieta, the Coloseum & Forum, the visit to "The Forest" contrada. One day we hiked in the Dolomite - in snow! Several days later we were on the beach in the Cinque Terre area. I loved the stained glass studio."

Victor

San Jose, CA

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am impressed by how much the tour covered in 17 days. I learned a lot. So much art, so much country, so much culture in such a short period of time. The tour was well managed. Sarah is a jewel. She kept the group going and ontime. She hired excellent local guides. Her recomendations for things to do and places to eat were good. The guide book was very valuable to us while there. It enabled us to find places when on our own. I will recommend this tour to my friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question to answer. Since much of the trip was a WOW. I would narrow the answer to 1) Hiking in the Alpine Meadow and having lunch at the Ski Shack. 2) The long nighttime Gondola ride in Venice with the singer and accordion player in our Gondola. 3) The Vatican and all its art. This answer does not diminish any of the other sights and experiences. Assisi is a wonderful village, The Domo in Florence is impressive. I could go on and on."

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time on the tour and accomplished exactly what I was hoping to accomplish, i.e., we got a taste of many different areas of Italy. Overall, I think the pace was just right. We really kept moving and were going from early morning to late at night but still had some time to just relax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments - meeting the couple in Castlerotto who adored the Castleruther Spaten group, the incredible paintings in the Uffizi Gallery, the wonderful cappuccino's, and the spectacular first sighting of St. Peter's from the hill in Rome at night!"

David

Merced, CA

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very well developed schedule and selection of cities which provided an excellent introduction to Italy. I really liked the "free time" which allowed us to "do what we wanted" on many afternoons. Sarah also added a lot of interesting local events which enhanced the cultural experience.

Susan

Eugene, OR

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this second trip to Italy. I feel I could now take on travel in Italy on my own, although it was very nice to go with the tour "family". There was a good mix of cultural and historical information provided by our excellent guide, Sarah. I learned what Rick meant by an "active" vacation. We covered more miles, and saw more sights, than we would ever push ourselves to accomplish on our own. No sleeping in on this tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was thrilled when we found our way across Rome on our own, with the skills we had acquired from our guided experiences. It was fun to get lost, and discover we could find ourselves again. Our confidence has grown with these tourist survival skills, and we appreciate everyone who cooperated in providing us with this travel opportunity."

Leonard

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything and more than I expected!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow! moment was. . . the gondola ride in Venice, the lunch I had in the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, St. Peter's Bascillica..."

Mary

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had such an amazing time! I was Leary of going on a group tour, but the Rick Steves tour offered enough free time to explore on our own. I was so impressed with all the minute details of how to get around on our own we were given; directions, transportation schedules, tips about local happenings... We never waited for more than a couple minutes for transportation or entrance to the sites. It just all flowed very smoothly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had an idea of what the big towns would be like, but I new nothing about the Dolomites. I was so blown away by the incredible beauty of the area!"

Richard

Miller Place, NY

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. It far exceeded our expectations. Sarah, our guide, was the best. She informed us of every detail possible. We were never disappointed with the recommendations she made for restaurants etc.. We would not hesitate to take another Rick Steves Tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our luncheon at a family owned agriturismo was one of the highlights of our trip. Our gondola ride with the group was also special. The dinner we had on our own in Sienna was in a restaurant called Da Divo. It was situated in an Etruscan cave and the food was great. This was one of Sarah's many helpful recommendations."

Inger

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 10/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I still feel overwhelmed by all the impressions from the tour, they will stay with me forever. The tour provided all I was promised and then some. Sarah Murdoch was an excellent guide and I feel that I now have had a good overview of Northern Italy and am ready to go back and explore on my own. I had a great time and would like to go on another tour, maybe to Sicily with Sarah.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the inside of Basilica San Marco"

Dolores

El Dorado Hills, CA

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I so enjoyed the areas the tour covered. Each new stop was an adventure and an experience. I loved going from lakes to mountains to ocean to cities, big and small. It was a lovely blend.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the shadow of Michelangelo's David and looking into his eyes."

Susan

Elkridge, MD

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't realize how different the various regions of Italy were from each other; this was fascinating and so much fun to experience. Getting to know the other tour members and sharing stories with them over dinner and wine really enhanced my enjoyment of this trip. And I liked the mix of free time and planned activities. My husband and I always thought we preferred traveling on our own. While we still like that, we will likely take another tour like this one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking through tinkling cowbells in Alpi di Suisi, reading on our terrace overlooking the Umbrian countryside in Orvieto, gliding through the canals of Venice at night, hiking between Monterossa and Vernazza in Cinque Terre, being gobsmacked at the opulence of St. Peter's Basilica, dining with the tour group in the Selva clubhouse in Sienna, seeing glorious and intricate marble floors everywhere - these were a few of my favorite things."

Diane

Alexandria, MN

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned, the group melded well and we felt guided but not controlled. Hotels were perfectly located for access to sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each stop had its own but the Dolomites were an unexpected pleasure."

Joan

Berkeley, CA

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved just about everything...could have done without rain but it wasn't too bad. Would have loved more free time just about every place but that would be a longer tour. Two-night stays were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Otzi the iceman, Michelangelo's David and Pieta were "wows" for me. Seeing all the hill towns from the bus windows were "wow" moments...made me want to come back to explore each one."

Catheryn

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the "trip of a lifetime" for us. There were so many times during the trip when the feeling that "I can't believe that I am seeing this in person" feeling came over me! Our tour guide, Ferdi Menghi was exceptional. He was knowledgeable about all the places that we visited, or in some cases, even drove by. The bus driver, Roberto, was great. He did an outstanding job of maneuvering that bus through all the switch-backs and cities of Italy. See you next time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip!"

Robert

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 10/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was more thrilling than I imagined. I experienced places and treaures of art, architecture, and history that I've wanted to see all my adult life. The tour packed in a lot in 17 days, and it exposed me to several places that I will visit again in the future. The tour does an excellent job of selecting the "high spots" to visit out of the many possibilities that Italy has to offer. I enjoyed this tour of Italy immensely, and can't wait to go back for a longer stay.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it's hard to choose. But seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa "up close and personal" truly stands out."

Barbara

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide was fantastic and the varied locations were wonderful! The hotels were located in convenient places and the food was great! I liked that we also had free time to explore on our own. I had no complaints and loved it all!!!!!!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, how can I pick one!!?? At every stop I'd think "this is going to be my favorite place" but then we would move on and I thought again...this is going to be my favorite place!!! So I will pick Siena...the warmth of the church people in preparing our dinner and learning about the horse races."

April

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 10/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded all my expectations. I knew it was going to be good but I was overwhelmed by how wonderful this tour was. I have been on several tours before with other companies and while I enjoyed them very much, this Rick Steves tour was far superior in every way. The friendly people on the tour, the informative guides, the special experiences, the comfortable hotels and perhaps, most of all, the expert organization of the tour overall made for an amazing trip to Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many favourite "wow" moments and "am I really here?" and "pinch me" moments. They ranged from the special dinner at the social club in Sienna, to the incredible view from our room at the Pasquale Hotel in Monterosso, to viewing with awe the Sistine Chapel."

Darrell

San Bruno, CA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just an overall great time. The group members were fun, fantastic people, Karin our tour guide was amazing. The group dinners were a highlight, great company and way too much good food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly the entire trip was filled with wow moments, but the "Wowest" of the wow had to be the Pantheon. We visited the Pantheon at twilight on our last night of the tour. What an end to a great experience."

Janet

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. The trip was beyond expectations. We saw so many things, but also had enough free time to explore on our own and "get lost" in the cities. So much fun. Our guide Karin was outstanding. She was very informative, but also lots of fun. The group we were with were great. We all got along and actually made some friendships we hope will last beyond the trip. Hasan was the perfect driver. He was all business while driving, but took part in some things when not driving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the demonstration of mask making. Amazing. Venice was the best and watching the process of mask making capped it off."

Kathleen

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

An ambitious overview of Italy north of and including Rome. Excellent guide and bus driver, comfortable accommodations, a great mix of herding us through the "basics" and "cannot be missed," with interesting local guides and launching us off on our own for at least half of the time our feet were on the ground.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wine on the rooftop of our Florence 15th C. "tower" hotel, at sunset, gazing over at the Duomo, City Hall, and down on a private apartment rooftop which had a table and chairs and bed, for sleeping under the stars."

Patricia

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful, fast pace, educational, exciting and delicious experience. Our guide was great and so knowledgeable. We all followed the "no grump' agreement well. I learned so much and loved every minute of those 17 days on this tour. Everything ran so smoothly and all the organizing was done for us. Amazing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow was: in Cinque Terra while hiking from Monterosso south, when I first saw the village of Vernazza. I have so LOVED the photographs I've seen of this place in the past and just couldn't believe I was really seeing it."

Jean

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour - strenuous, but worth every minute. Lake Como was a good place to start the tour and get over jet lag. Saw more of Venice that on my last tour 15 years ago; it remains my favorite Italian city. Sienna was surprisingly manageable and interesting. Orvieto was like walking into a painting! Thanks so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the hike in the Dolomites, the cow bells clanging away, the silence of the ski lift."

Sharon

Ripon, CA

Tour: 09/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having a tour guide like Robin with credentials, knowledge, and a love for Italy that seemed to drive her to want to make everyone's experience exactly what they wanted and more is without reservation the number one reason this was our best sightseeing vacation ever and more. Every day we ended by saying we didn't know how it could be, but it was better than the day before. It was fast paced enough to learn and see Italy but enough down time for enjoying as we went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the tour of the Rhino neighborhood church, museum, and social club in Siena. It was unbelievable that these people opened their neighborhood to us, sharing their food, wine, and love of the Palio race experiences, dating back to the mid 1800's. I truly felt I had visited the people of Siena and got glimpse into their lives."

Kristine

Cadillac, MI

Tour: 09/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was more than expected!! The itinerary was wonderful but your organization and attention to detail made each stop much more enhanced! My husband and myself love every minutes of the entire trip. There was never a moment that wasn't well done. The luxury bus was so comfortable and offered much needed rest along our travels as well as a "venue" for education by our tour guide. I can't imagine seeing and experiencing as much if we had planned our own trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is a very hard question. There were so many for both my husband and I. We felt close to heaven at the many stops.. Standing out might be the natural beautiful of the alpine meadow in Alpe Di Suisi. But to see the many inspired works of art by the masters -- paintings, frescoes, sculptures made us feel that there has to be a God that would provide the vision for these works. So sorry we can be more specific. Love the pesto making dinner in Montorosso!"

Dana

Ripon, CA

Tour: 09/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an excellent combination of group and independence in the tour. Robin was a first rate problem solver when one occurred when we had a rain storm in Rome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole Siena experience. The meal and the presentation at the contrada dinner made me intimate with the Italian culture."

Dottie

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The pace, the choice of stops, the planned meals, and most of all the people in our group were exceptional!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! Having taken courses in Interpretive Studies, I was very impressed with the Iceman Museum in Bolzano. It was so unexpected in such an out-of-the-way nontourist stop. An amazing job!"

Jerry

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It occurred to us that those on a RS tour are self-[INVALID]ing ... in a good sense. That is, the style and focus of RS tours attacks those of similar interests. In this case, after having gone on tours for 35 years, this was the most cohesive group we've experienced. By staying in smaller, locally owned hotels, by having time to walk leisurely through neighborhoods, by being told of good local restaurants, we felt that this tour helped us experience Italy rather than just looking at Italy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many (standing quietly in the presence of genius at the Michelangelo's David, learning about the horse races in Siena, the Florence WWII cemetery, attending mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square). But, while people joke about the ABC tour (Another Bloody Church), for me each cathedral and small town church was special. I never tired of wandering through each one, discovering the passion and art of the centuries."

Paul

Collingwood, ON

Tour: 09/11/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I enjoyed every minute of the tour!!!

David

Highlands Ranch, CO

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was more than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day was was a wow experience for me."

Kathy

Highlands Ranch, CO

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful guide Donald White and the chemistry of the group was great! The places that were on the tour were both beautiful and very educational. From the ancient history to the art history there were days our heads were spinning. Thee was plenty of free time to explore on our own and the food was fabulous. We will remember this tour and our group and the friendships that were made.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really hard to pick one "wow" moment as the whole trip was a "wow" moment. From Venice and the canals to Florence and Michelangelo's David to the Dolomites. Each location had a "wow" moment. One of the best times we had was the dinner the last night we were together in a bistro in the caverns in Rome. We even had a musician who got us all to sing!"

Douglas

Woodland, CA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The selection of the cities visited was perfect, and the tour was well planned and executed. The tour guide enhanced the tour with helpful information and background of the sites visited. The bus driver, Silvario, was also friendly, helpful, and accomodating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the stay at Orvieto winery, with great accomodations, location, and food."

Judy

Poolesville, MD

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour experience. Previously we traveled on our own and were somewhat apprehensive about traveling with a group. What an extraordinary time we had on this tour. When describing our experience, it's impossible to separate our guide, our tour members and Italy itself. All three came together to create an incredible trip. We learned so much about all the places we visited, had time to explore on our own and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship/camaraderie of new-found friends

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible to pick one. From opening our hotel window at the Villa Cipressi in Varenna and looking out at Lake Como to seeing the Sistine Chapel, it was one wow moment after another. If I had to choose one moment, it would be the gondola ride in Venice. Our entire group went and Sarah (guide) had a guitarist and singer join us. Magical!"

Tod

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

"Europe Through The Backdoor" was great. We have planned trips to Spain & Portugal on our own using Rick Steves" guide books, but this was our first Rick Steves" tour. However, as recommended, I packed one small suitcase & my Rick Steves" day bag, but by the time we landed in Amsterdam it started to come apart & when we arrived in Milan it was rendered almost useless with straps holding together by mere threads. The "Front Door" can make a lifetime impression. May I suggest a "Front Door" day

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting lost in Venice & wadding back to the hotel in the late hours of the night or wee hours of the morning."

Weather

Italy / Milan


Italy / Venice


Italy / Florence


Italy / Rome

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Italy: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Milan and out of Rome (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Italy. Both Milan and Rome are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Italy before your tour begins, visiting Milan is a logical choice as we don't spend any time there during the tour. Use Rick Steves Italy guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Milan: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (reserve from home; details in Rick Steves Italy guidebook) and Europe's third-largest cathedral, the Duomo. Milan is about an hour by train from Varenna, our tour's departure point, making it an easy pre-tour day trip.

The tour includes a Lake Como ferry pass on Day 2, allowing you to explore the many pleasant towns, such as Menaggio and Bellagio. But if you want more time to explore or hike, you may also want to cruise the lake before the tour begins.

Spending extra time after the tour in Rome? Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing that we do not do as a group: Borghese Gallery (reservations mandatory, closed Mondays); Spanish Steps; Capuchin Crypt; National Museum of Rome; Ancient Appian Way (great for biking) and catacombs.

Packing

There are some great opportunities for hikes in the Dolomites and the Cinque Terre. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.